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Coparmex Mexicali Urges Baja California Congress to Enact Law on Disappeared Persons

-Editorial

Since its introduction on September 8, 2022, by Representative Rocío Adame, the initiative to establish the Law on Forced Disappearance of People and the State System for Searching for Persons in Baja California remains in limbo, awaiting attention from the State Congress. Regrettably, despite the pressing need for such legislation, there has been a notable lack of progress on this crucial draft decree as the State Congress has yet to take decisive steps to advance it.

The President of COPARMEX Mexicali expressed frustration at the endless excuses provided by Congress for not advancing the critical initiative. The importance of the proposed law, aimed at addressing forced disappearances, particularly for families grappling with the disappearance of a loved one, cannot be overstated.

“The excuses for not doing the work are endless,” Octavio Sandoval Lopez said referring to the reasons that the Congress of Baja California has expressed regarding the delay in the issuance of said law.

At a press conference, Sandoval López acknowledged the meticulous work done by Deputy Rocío Adame’s team, comparing it to the General Law on the Matter of the Forced Disappearance of Persons in 2017. The detailed efforts in the project underline its significance, emphasizing that the matter should not be further postponed.

Forced disappearances in Mexico have been a longstanding concern, documented by the United Nations since 1980. The proposed law is crucial in addressing this issue, especially considering the alarming statistics as of November 2021, where 95,121 people were reported missing, with at least 52,000 unidentified bodies. The federal government, recognizing a humanitarian crisis due to forced disappearances, emphasizes the urgency for legislative action.

The proposed law aligns with international standards, addressing the elements characterizing forced disappearances as outlined by the United Nations Work Group. It emphasizes the involvement of government agents, the refusal to recognize the act of deprivation of liberty, and the concealment of the victim’s fate or whereabouts.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, ratified by Mexico, defines forced disappearance as an act committed by agents of the State or with the State’s authorization, followed by a refusal to recognize the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the disappeared person’s fate or whereabouts.

As the Mexican government grapples with what has been termed a “forensic crisis,” with over 50,000 unidentified individuals in mass graves or forensic services, the need for a comprehensive legal framework to address forced disappearances becomes increasingly urgent. The delay in enacting the proposed law in Baja California raises concerns about the commitment to tackling this critical issue that has plagued the nation for decades.

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