VISIT TO MEXICO
At the invitation of the Government of the United Mexican States, a
delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights conducted a
working visit to that country from July 24 to August 1, 2002.
Heading the delegation was the Commission’s President, Dr. Juan E.
Méndez, who is also the rapporteur on the rights of migrant workers and
their families in the hemisphere. Dr.
Méndez was accompanied by the Commission’s attorney in charge of cases
involving Mexico, Dr. Mario López Garelli, and the consultants working with
the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their
Families, Dr. Andreas Feldmann and Dr. Helena Olea.
The purpose of the visit was to hold a number of working meetings on
individual cases and to examine the situation of the rights of migrant
workers and their families in Mexico. Activities
to promote the inter-American system for the protection of human rights were
also on the mission’s agenda.
AND FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT OF CASES
The working meetings, held in Mexico City on July 25 and 26, examined
cases in which the IACHR had already established the presence of human
rights violations and had made recommendations to the Government.
Also discussed were cases for which a friendly settlement was
currently being sought and of which this international body remains seized. This is the second time the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs
of Mexico has invited the Commission to examine the follow-up measures and
friendly settlement processes; a similar mission was conducted in July 2001.
The follow-up reports discussed were the following:
3. The President
of the Commission chaired these working meetings.
Also in attendance were high-ranking dignitaries from the Secretariat
for Foreign Affairs of Mexico and officials from various states, among them
the Attorney General of Chiapas and representatives of the governments of
Chiapas, Morelos, Veracruz and Oaxaca.
Representing the victims were immediate next of kin and organizations
like the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights,
the Center for Justice and International Law, the “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez”
Human Rights Center, Christians for the Abolition of Torture, the
Association of Relatives of Detainees, Disappeared and Victims of Human
Rights Violations in Mexico, the law firm of “Tierra y Libertad”, the
Oaxaca Teachers’ Human Rights Commission and the Organización
Campesina de las Sierras del Sur.
The case follow-up work was performed as part of the Inter-American
Commission’s functions under the OAS Charter, the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, the
Commission’s Statute and its Rules of Procedure, particularly articles 46
and 62. Significant progress
was made during the course of these meetings.
They were instrumental in advancing the business of the working
groups composed of government officials and representatives of the victims.
Those working groups were created in July 2001, to agree on concrete
measures for compliance with the Commission’s recommendations, on
reparations proposals, and on proposed reforms to bring Mexico’s domestic
laws in line with its international commitments in the area of human rights.
The Inter-American Commission also held meetings on a number of cases
currently in the friendly settlement process.
Participating were the competent authorities, the respective
petitioners and the victims’ next of kin.
Those meetings came up with important progress agreements that set
deadlines and called for specific results.
Dr. Juan Méndez will report the substance of those agreements to the
IACHR at its forthcoming session.
OF HUMAN RIGHTS
While in Mexico, the IACHR also actively promoted human rights.
Dr. Méndez and delegation members participated in the “Seminar on
the Justiciability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
This academic event was staged at the Instituto de Investigaciones
Jurídicas [Juridical Research Institute] of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma
de México and was organized by CEJIL, the Center for Civil & Human
Rights of the University of Notre Dame in the United States, and UNAM’s
MIGRANT WORKERS’ SITUATION
The Office of the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrant Workers
and Their Families in the Hemisphere conducted an in
loco visit to Mexico to examine the migrant workers’ situation.
The members of the team of Rapporteur Dr. Juan Méndez began their
visit on July 25, 2002 in Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas, where they met
with authorities from the Attorney General’s Office, the Federal
Preventive Police, and the municipal president of Tapachula.
On Friday, July 26, Dr. Feldmann and Dr. Olea continued their
business with officials from the National Migration Institute.
They toured border stations along Mexico’s southern frontier and
conferred with the Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission.
On July 27, 2002, the Rapporteur held several meetings in Mexico City
with civil society organizations dedicated to the rights of migrant workers
in Mexico. On July 28, 2002,
the Rapporteur’s full team visited the Ixtapalapa migrant center in the
Federal District. The Mexico
City meetings continued into July 29, this time with the Deputy Secretary
for Population and Migration Services and with authorities from the
Secretariat for Foreign Affairs, the National Migration Institute, the
National Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Attorney General of the
Republic and the Secretariat for Public Safety.
On July 30, 2002, following a working breakfast with Senator Silvia
Hernández and Representative Irma Piñeiro, the Rapporteur’s Office
traveled to the northern border of Mexico.
In Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, they met with the Chihuahua State Human
Rights Commission. Dr. Méndez
and the team members conferred with a number of civil society organizations
working on the murders and disappearances of women in Ciudad Juárez.
They also met with the next of kin of the victims of these crimes.
A meeting was also held in Ciudad Juárez with the Special Prosecutor
appointed to investigate the murders of women in that community, and with
the Coordinator of Victims’ Treatment and Disappearance of Women.
On July 31, 2002, the Rapporteur and his team toured the border
stations near Ciudad Juárez, accompanied by the Director of the Migrant
Protection Groups (Beta Groups). The
Rapporteur also spoke with the delegate from the National Migration
Institute in Chihuahua, that state’s Government Secretary, and the Mexican
consuls in El Paso and Nogales. The
Rapporteur’s team also met with authorities from the Attorney General’s
Office, the Federal Preventive Police and the Municipal President of Ciudad
Today, the Rapporteur’s team visited the Casa
del Migrante [Migrant Center] in Ciudad Juárez, and with that wrapped
up its visit to Mexico. The
Rapporteur’s Office will do a preliminary evaluation of the activities
conducted during its visit and make it public in due course.
* * * * *
The IACHR is grateful to the Mexican State for its invitation, which
was an important signal of the willingness to comply with its international
obligations in the area of human rights.
The Commission is particularly appreciative of the cooperation it
received from the Office of the Deputy Secretary for Human Rights and
Democracy, Mariclaire Acosta, and from Juan José Gómez Camacho, Director
of Human Rights with the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
The facilities they afforded made the Commission’s visit a success.
D.C., 1 August 2002