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UNITED MEXICAN STATES:
DISAPPEARANCES INSUFFICIENTLY INVESTIGATED

Update info:
4 Jul 2018
Country:
UNITED MEXICAN STATES
Subject:
At least 33 people disappeared
Gender m/f: Both
Period:
1 Aug 2018
Distribution date:
4 Jul 2018
UA No:
120/2018

From February to May 2018 at least 33 people were reported disappeared in Nuevo Laredo, northern Mexico. Authorities have been losing crucial time to investigate and family members are being left without adequate protection.

At least 33 cases of disappearance in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas State (North) Mexico have been reported to the National Human Rights Commission since February 2018. Thirteen bodies have been found to date, mostly by family members. In May, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a series of alerts regarding these cases. Some disappearances indicate the possible involvement of the Mexican Navy, based on witness testimony and audio-visual material collected during the events.

A number of relatives or witnesses received threats after reporting their cases to authorities or making their demands public. Many have expressed their fear and need for protection from the State. Furthermore, the Mexican Navy reneged on its initial promise to allow them to enter their installations to search for their disappeared. Some family members indicated being harassed or intimidated after asking for information at navy sites. The local NGO accompanying them, the Nuevo Laredo Human Rights Committee (Comité de Derechos Humanos de Nuevo Laredo) has been constantly attacked on social media and accused of “supporting criminals”. On 6 June, following a meeting with dozens of relatives to the disappeared, federal authorities committed to a series of actions including speeding up the search, ensuring swift investigations and guaranteeing their protection.

Relatives of some victims told Amnesty International that the Federal Attorney General´s Office has to date not fully investigated or advanced in the investigation of their disappearances, which took place between March and May. Furthermore, relatives for one vitivm who disappeared on the evening of 23 April and whose body was found dead a few days later, have yet to be able to access a copy of the casefile of the investigation into his death, despite having the right to do so. The common thread in these cases is having witnesses that describe seeing marines in their vehicles taking them away.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In Mexico, over 37,000 people are currently disappeared. Tamaulipas is the state with most disappearances cases in the country, reaching a total of 5,990 people whose whereabouts were unknown by 30 April 2018 according to official figures, number which has increased since then.

Between February and May 2018 there was a spike on the number of disappearances reported in the city of Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas state, many of which families or witnesses claim to be enforced disappearances by the Navy.

From 12 to 15 June a number of federal authorities carried out a follow up delegation to Nuevo Laredo to continue on the commitments taken with family members during a high level meeting on June 6. During this follow up delegation, families were interviewed individually by a number of authorities in order to contribute to investigations.

While this is important, nevertheless family members have denounced to Amnesty International that crucial time is being lost to carry out essential searches for material evidence in the field. Key pieces of information such as phone call records and tracking, surveillance videos from businesses close to places of disappearance, fingerprints and other such evidence, have yet to be analysed in a number of cases, some of which occurred as much as three months ago.

To date, most of the searches for disappeared people have been carried out by family members themselves, at great risk to their personal safety. During the course of these searches, 13 bodies have been found.

UA: 120/18 Index: AMR 41/8639/2018 Issue Date: 20 June 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on authorities to urgently and rapidly investigate the disappearances and executions reported in recent months, giving priority to the search for the disappeared as well as the examination of evidence and field-based work.
  • Ensuring protection for family members who request surveillance or other security measures, and public support for the human rights defenders involved in these cases.
  • Calling on the Mexican Navy to fully cooperate with all investigations and provide detailed information on their operations in recent months in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 01 AUGUST 2018 TO:
Acting Federal Attorney General
Alberto Elías Beltrán
Procurador General Interino
Rio Amazonas 43 Col. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500. Ciudad de México, México.
Email: alberto.elias@pgr.gob.mx
Twitter: @AlbertoEBeltran
Salutation: Dear Acting Attorney

Minister of the Interior
Alfonso Navarrete Prida
Secretaría de Gobernación
Río Amazonas 91
Col. Renacimiento, C.P. 06500.
Ciudad de México, México
Email: secretario@segob.gob.mx
Salutation: Dear Minister / Estimado Ministro

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.