Blog Posts

Until We Find Them, Part 1: The Disappeared in Mexico

The 1994 Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons defines forced disappearance as “the act of depriving a person or persons of his or their freedom, in whatever way, perpetrated by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of the state, followed by an absence of information or a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the whereabouts of that person, thereby impeding his or her recourse to the applicable legal remedies and procedural guarantees.” On Monday, March 18, 2013 the Latin America Working Group Education Fund together with the Washington Office on Latin Americathe Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the US Office on Colombia, and the Guatemala Human Rights Commissionhosted a panel event entitled “Until We Find Them: The Disappeared in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru” to discuss the situation of forced disappearances in each country.

Nadín Reyes Maldonado is the daughter of Edmundo Reyes Amaya, who was detained and disappeared on May 25, 2007 in Oaxaca, Mexico. She founded the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared “Until We Find Them” (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos "Hasta Encontrarlos"). Nadín shared the following testimony about the current situation of the disappeared in Mexico during the March 18th panel.The following testimony is a translation..

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What DOES Border Security Look Like?

President Obama, Congress, and a growing majority of American voters agree that the U.S. immigration system is broken and must be fixed. However, more than a month into the president’s second term and an unending national debate, the question remains: will anything actually happen on immigration reform? Recent events, including a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” held February 13th provided us with an inkling of what we might have in store. Committee Chair Senator Leahy (D-Vt.) echoed President Obama saying “Now is the time” for immigration reform. Meanwhile, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) saw “overconfidence on this (immigration reform) bill” and asserted that he and others will continue to fight it over issues of earned legalization, enforcement, and border security. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators working on their own comprehensive immigration framework, indicated support for making reform happen, he also noted that any discussions thus far include “triggers that need to be tripped in terms of border security...”

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"An Infinite Sadness Overwhelms My Heart...Your Absence"

“Una tristeza infinita agobia mi corazón…tu ausencia. Triste realidad que el llanto nos arranca, mas tengo en mi tristeza una alegría ¡Que algún día te voy a encontrar!” “Hija, solo vivo para encontrarte.”
“An infinite sadness overwhelms my heart..your absence. This sad reality moves us to weep, but within my sadness is a happiness that someday I will find you! Daughter, I only live to find you.”

This was one of many homemade signs hung by victims on the walls of the high school auditorium where victims of violence and human rights activists from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. gathered in Mexico City last month to take stock and chart next steps for Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD).  Before discussions started, Father Solalinde, a Catholic priest well-known for his valiant efforts to protect migrants at a shelter in Oaxaca, reminded us all of the urgency of this effort, calling us to “ponernos las pilas,” to buckle down and focus on moving the effort for peace and justice forward...

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"What Should America Do About Gun Violence?"

That was the title of the January 30th Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to consider how Congress should move forward to address gun violence. Emotions ran high as the hearing began with a statement from Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman from Arizona who survived a gunshot wound to the head two years ago. She still struggles with speech, but as she faced the Senate members, she spoke with a determination and force belying the gravity and urgency of her message. “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”...

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Let’s Talk about What We Can Do to Halt the Flow of Assault Weapons into Mexico

As we continue our national conversation about gun violence in the aftermath of the Newtown elementary school shootings, let's also consider a plea from our neighbors in Mexico. One hundred thousand people -- yes, 100,000 people -- have been killed in the violence that has devastated Mexico in the last six years. Twenty-five thousand people have disappeared. Seven thousand bodies lie unidentified in morgues.

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Mexico’s Human Rights Defenders Call for Implementation of Protection Mechanism in New Video

No question, Mexico’s new President Enrique Peña Nieto was faced with many profound and pressing human rights issues when he assumed office on December 1st.  With human rights defenders and journalists enduring alarming levels of threats and attacks in Mexico, including targeted killings and disappearances by both state and non-state actors that have gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished, many are calling on Peña Nieto to commit to provide the political will and resources needed to protect defenders and journalists and prevent future attacks.

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