On September 21, Peace Brigades International made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
Mexican human rights defender Maricela Vazquez Sanchez of the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre stated:
“We welcome the report of the Working Group and join its concern about reprisals against families of victims of disappearance and human rights defenders and organizations that support them.
Mexico has 357 cases pending clarification before this Working Group, although officially 92,060 people are still missing, including Daniel Armando Guzmán Ramos. In addition, the seekers face multiple attacks, including murder, so it is urgent to guarantee their protection, especially during search activities.
In Honduras, Sneider Centeno, President of the Community Board and member of OFRANEH and three other people from the community detained by armed persons identified with vests of the Investigation Police Directorate on July 17, 2020.
His disappearance is linked to actions of land recovery pursuant to a resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Since that day his whereabouts are unknown and there have been no relevant advances in the investigations.
Colombia has not ratified Articles 30 and 31 of the International Convention, despite 100,000 enforced disappearances with extremely high rates of impunity.
Alarming have been the recent disappearances during the nationwide protests in 2021, and in the port of Buenaventura. Expansion works port in Buenaventura would irreversibly affect the location of the remains of people disappeared, as in the case of Estero San Antonio, on which the Special Jurisdiction for Peace is studying the approval of precautionary measures.
In Guatemala, the so-called “Diario Militar” trial is currently being carried out, a case that seeks clarify responsibilities in the forced disappearance of 183 people between 1983-86. 12 are accused ex-military and police officers, 9 of whom are already involved in the process.
The relatives of victims, organizations, lawyers, prosecutors and other justice operators linked to this trial face continuous and strong acts of intimidation and threats, particularly worrying in the context of the near destruction of the State of Law in Guatemala and legislative initiatives for amnesty even for forced disappearances.
We support recommendation 108 of the report that asks States to adopt specific measures to prevent acts of intimidation and retaliation, protect those who work in cases of enforced disappearance and punish the perpetrators of such attacks. Similarly, it is urgent that the States of Colombia and Guatemala accept the request for an official visit from the Working Group.”
You can watch the video of this intervention with English interpretation here (starting at 01:43:27) and in Spanish simply by clicking here.
PBI-Mexico has accompanied the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre since 2013.