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FridayMarch 16, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Brazil Praised for First Prosecution of Human Rights Abuses During ‘70s Military Dictatorship

Brazil Praised for First Prosecution of Human Rights Abuses During ‘70s Military Dictatorship

Photo: Military Rule Brazil

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The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the prosecution of a retired Brazilian army colonel for disappearances during the country’s military dictatorship as a “first and crucial step” in fighting the impunity that surrounds that period.

Prosecutors in Brazil announced this week that they will charge Sebastião Curió Rodrigues de Moura with aggravated kidnapping in relation to the disappearance of five members of the Araguaia guerrilla movement who were detained in 1974. The charges must still be approved by a judge before the case can go to trial.

This is the first time that Brazil is prosecuting human rights violations committed during the military dictatorship period, according to OHCHR. Previous attempts have been blocked by interpretations of the 1979 amnesty law.

That law was struck down in 2010 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which ruled that it is invalid and that criminal investigations and prosecutions must proceed.

Last November High Commissioner Navi Pillay welcomed the creation of a Truth Commission to investigate human rights abuses committed during military rule, calling it “an essential and welcome first step towards healing the country’s wounds and clarifying past wrongs.” She had also encouraged Brazil to take measures to facilitate prosecutions and repeal the amnesty law.

In addition, Uruguay has overturned a de facto amnesty law and Argentina has handed down hundreds of rulings to perpetrators of gross human rights violations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Narcocorrido” Band Member Killed in Mexico

A member of a band specializing in songs about the exploits and travails of drug kingpins was gunned down Friday in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said.

Rodolfo Gomez Valenzuela was fatally wounded in the wee hours of Friday, when armed men burst into a home where the Cartel de Sinaloa group was rehearsing and opened fire, a police officer told the media.

The victim’s brother, drummer Roberto Clemente Gomez Valenzuela, was also hit and remains hospitalized in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa.

Taking its name from Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel, the band plays what are known as “narcocorridos.”

The ballads about drug lords feature traditional folk melodies and rhythm and constitute a thriving category of Mexican popular music, yet singing about the underworld can be risky.

Another member of Cartel de Sinaloa, Jose Antonio Sanchez Velazquez, was slain in 2009, one of seven singers and musicians in the narcocorrido genre murdered over the past six years.

Observers suggest violence against narcocorrido artists is the work of kingpins angry about songs glorifying their rivals.

Sinaloa is the birthplace of the first generation of high-profile Mexican drug traffickers, including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the fugitive boss of the Sinaloa cartel and - according to Forbes magazine - one of the world’s richest people.

In May 2011, Sinaloa Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez issued a decree barring narcocorridos in bars, nightclubs and banquet halls.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nogales CBP Officers Arrest Prison Escapee at Dennis DeConcini Port

Nogales CBP Officers Arrest Prison Escapee at Dennis DeConcini Port

Photo: Officers Arrest Prison Escapee at Dennis DeConcini Port

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Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Tucson Field Office arrested a 42-year-old U.S. citizen Wednesday with an outstanding arrest warrant for an escape offense out of the Colorado Department of Corrections in relation to a “dangerous drugs” charge.

Officers at the Dennis DeConcini Port referred a 44-year-old female driver and her male passenger, Hime Corona, for a secondary inspection of her Volkswagen sedan when they attempted to enter the United States. When officers ran a routine records check, they discovered the warrant and arrested Corona. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and took custody of the Corona while he awaits extradition. The female driver, also a U.S. citizen, was released without further incident.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Demi Lovato on ‘American Idol’ Last Night

WATCH Demi Lovato on ‘American Idol’ Last Night

Photo: Demi Lovato live performance on American Idol

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WATCH Demi Lovato on ‘American Idol’ Last Night


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Man Outside State Capitol Tells Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to “Go Back to Mexico”

Man Outside State Capitol Tells Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to “Go Back to Mexico”

Photo: Man Tells Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to "Go Back to Mexico"

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After a recent visit to the California state capitol, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was heckled by a man who told him to “Go back to Mexico.”

Sacramento Bee reporter Dan Morain had been shadowing Mayor Villaraigoas that day and he wrote that he chased after the heckler to speak with him.

The man identified himself as Davi Rodrigues from Sacramento and when Morain asked him if he yells at mayors “all the time” he told the reporter the mayor “is a pissant.”

Morain recounted what the man told him:

The man … proceeding to spew about how an “illegal alien” killed the son of a friend down in L.A., and how it was Villaraigosa’s fault. “He is a Mexican. That is what he claims. He is always defending illegal Mexicans and Mexico. … I have no qualms about saying anything to him.

Morain wrote that the mayor, who clearly heard what Rodrigues had said, just smiled and continued walking. His office chose to give no further comment to other news sources, telling HuffPo LA, “We think the Mayor’s response in that story speaks for itself.”

Just to clarify Mayor Villaraigosa has never lived in Mexico. He was born in Boyle Heights, California, graduated from Roosevelt High School and went on to graduate from UCLA.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Examines California Latino Students’ Involvement in Higher Education

Study Examines California Latino Students’ Involvement in Higher Education

Photo: Study Examines California Latino Students' Involvement in Higher Education

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The Latinos and Higher Education California Profile was compiled by The Campaign for College Opportunity with data from The Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (IHELP) at Sacramento State University and UCLA IDEA, UC/ACCORD. The profile documents college-going rates and completion rates for Latino students, finding distrurbingly low rates in both areas. At a time when the Latino student population is growing and the state is projected to have a shortage of one million trained workers with a baccalaureate degree, California must ensure that more Latino students graduate from high school ready for college and are successful in reaching their college goals.

Over half of the children attending public schools in California today are Latino. In a few years, Latinos will comprise almost half of the college-age population; however, they are critically underrepresented in the state’s four-year universities. Too few Latino students meet the requirements for admission into a public four-year university and too few earn a degree, certificate, or successfully transfer from community college.

70% of Latino first-time freshmen that enroll in a California public college or university begin at a community college. In a recent report, only two in ten of these students completed within six years. The combination of low college enrollment and low completion rates spells disaster for Latinos and the California economy precisely at a time when the state is projected to have a shortage of one million trained workers with baccalaureate degrees.

TOO FEW LATINOS MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION INTO CALIFORNIA FOUR-YEAR UNIVERSITIES

Image 57% of Latino 9th graders in the class of 2009 graduated from high school, only 16% met the requirements for admission into CSU and UC (see figure on right), and only half of those actually enrolled.

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES: MANY ENROLL, TOO FEW FINISH

Only 2 in 10 Latino community college students complete a certificate, associates degree, or transfer after 6 years, compared to 37% of whites.

7 out of 10 California Latino first-time college students enroll in a California Community College. The transfer rate for Latino students is about half that of white students (14% compared to 29%). Latinos who do transfer are twice as likely to transfer to a for-profit university as white transfer students (16% vs. 8%).

LATINO STUDENTS MAKE UP A MUCH LOWER SHARE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE “COMPLETERS” THAN INCOMING “DEGREE-SEEKERS”

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Read more at Campaign for College Opportunity →

As Mother’s Health Deteriorates, Jailed US Contractor Alan Gross Asks Cuban Officials for Furlough

As Mother’s Health Deteriorates, Jailed US Contractor Alan Gross Asks Cuban Officials for Furlough

Photo: Atorney for Imprisoned US Contractor Alan Gross Accuses Cuba of Misrepresentation

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U.S. contractor Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba since December 2009, has asked the Cuban government for leave to travel to the United States for two weeks to visit his ailing mother, his lawyer said.

Attorney Peter Kahn distributed in Washington a copy of the letter he sent in Gross’s name to Cuban President Raul Castro asking that he be allowed to make the trip for humanitarian reasons, with assurances that he would return to Cuba when the two weeks were up.

“We are reaching out to you directly, with the knowledge that you have the power to grant such humanitarian requests, as you have done in the past, and with the hope that you will extend a humanitarian gesture not only towards Alan, but to his ailing mother,” Kahn wrote.

The attorney asked permission for Alan to visit the United States for two weeks because his mother, 89-year-old Evelyn Gross, is too ill to travel.

Gross’s mother is suffering from the inoperable cancer in both lungs that was diagnosed in 2011, and, according to the letter, her final wish is “to be able to see her son once more before her battle with cancer is lost.”

Besides his mother’s illness, Gross is also pained by not being able to see his 26-year-old daughter Shira, detected with breast cancer in 2010.

Alan Gross, now 62, himself suffers various health problems since he was sentenced and has lost some 45 kilos (100 pounds) in prison.

This is not the first time that Gross’s family and attorneys have requested permission from the Cuban government for him to travel, but with no success as yet.

Gross’s request is similar to the one recently presented in Washington, also for humanitarian reasons, by Rene Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban intelligence agents sentenced in the United States for espionage, who wished to travel to Cuba to visit his brother who is ailing with cancer.

Alan Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.

Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on Gross five months earlier.

Gross was in Cuba as an employee of a Maryland firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The “Cuban Five” - Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez - were arrested by the FBI in 1998 and convicted three years later by a federal jury in Miami.

Though one of the group, Rene Gonzalez, completed his custodial sentence last October and was released, he has not been permitted to go home, as the federal courts say he must serve his three-year probation on U.S. soil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

USM Band Chants “Where’s Your Green Card?” at KSU’s Angel Rodriguez (VIDEO)

USM Band Chants “Where’s Your Green Card?” at KSU’s Angel Rodriguez (VIDEO)

Photo: USM Band Chants "Where's Your Green Card?" at KSU's Angel Rodriguez

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During Kansas State’s NCAA game against the University of Southern Mississippi Thursday, members of the USM pep band began making racially-charged chants at KSU guard Angel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who hails from Puerto Rico, was fouled and awarded free throws. When he stepped up to the line however, what is said to be a member of the USM band, began chanting “Where’s your green card?” Other people join in on the chant, but just as quickly as it began, it ends. The band director is said to have stopped the chant the moment he realized what they were saying. He has since apologized for the band members’ actions and also apologized to a nearby reporter who had recorded it.

Still, the news of the chants and video of the incident, which was being broadcast as part of the NCAA tournament, went viral.

Soon after the game, USM President Martha Saunders issued a statement saying, “We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today’s game. The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident.”

Watch and listen for the chants in the video below.


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Latinos Make List of 15 Most Popular Celebrity Pages of Facebook

Latinos Make List of 15 Most Popular Celebrity Pages of Facebook

Photo: Lionel Messi is 13th most popular celebrity on Facebook

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A Huffington Post study determined the 15 most popular people on Facebook via number of “likes” and among them were Latinos (or in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo and Justin Bieber, Latino favorites).

In the list of 15, 24-year-old soccer star Lionel Messi* came in at 13 with 33,210,550 Facebook page likes. The Argentine striker playing for Barcelona is currently in a race with German-born Mario Gómez García of FC Bayern Munich to become the top goalscorer of the Champions League tournament. So far Messi has 12 goals, but Gómez García is on his heels with 10.

Behind them in the goalscorer race also happens to be number 7 on the Facebook list, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker for Real Madrid has 41,452,805 page likes.

Coming in at number 4 is Colombian singer and girlfriend of Messi teammate Gerard Piqué, Shakira. Her fan page has roughly 48,062,038 likes. According to recent reports, the singer’s relationship is causing quite a distraction for her soccer beau, with some saying he is not focused on the field. Shakira is the highest ranking Latino/Latino friendly celebrity on the list.

So who did top the list? Well it wasn’t Selena Gomez’s boyfriend, Justin Bieber. He came in at number 6 with just 41,430,595 likes.

Rapper/actor Eminem took the top spot with 54,775,097 likes on the social media cite.

So what do you think? Did you think more Latinos were on the “top” list? Who?

*It should be noted that Messi’s Facebook page hasn’t even been up a year!

Read more at Huffington Post →

STUDY:  Bilingual Immigrants are Healthier

STUDY:  Bilingual Immigrants are Healthier

Photo: Benefits of Bilingualism

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Bilingual immigrants are healthier than immigrants who speak only one language, according to new research from sociologists at Rice University.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that people with strong English and native language proficiencies report better physical and mental health than unilingual immigrants.

“Our research suggests that English proficiency gained at the expense of native-language fluency may not be beneficial for overall health status,” said Rice alumna and Stanford University graduate student Ariela Schachter, who co-authored the research paper with Rice sociology professors Bridget Gorman and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro. “It’s very important for the immigrants to hold on to their native language in addition to learning English.”

The study examined associations between English and native-language proficiency and usage and self-rated health for more than 4,649 U.S. immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The research showed that the favorable health reported by bilingual immigrants is not impacted by factors such as socioeconomic status, acculturation, family and social support, stress and discrimination and health behaviors. The researchers theorize that the health benefits may be the result of a kind of “cultural flexibility” that allows them to easily integrate with their surroundings while maintaining cultural ties.

“Individuals who maintain native-language fluency while also learning English may be better equipped to retain relationships in their countries of origin and form new ones in the U.S.,” Gorman said. “We believe this can help explain the positive relationship between bilingualism and self-rated health.”

“There are still big questions about why bilingual immigrants are healthier than their unilingual counterparts,” Kimbro said. “We hope our findings will encourage further research of the subject.”

The research was funded by Rice University.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out Boyce Avenue’s Acoustic Cover:  “Babylon” by David Gray (VIDEO)

Check Out Boyce Avenue’s Acoustic Cover:  “Babylon” by David Gray (VIDEO)

Photo: Boyce Avenue's Acoustic Cover: "Babylon" by David Gray

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Check out Boyce Avenue‘s (aka the Manzano brothers and percussionist Jason Burrows) latest YouTube upload, “Babylon”, originally by David Gray.

Earlier this month, the Puerto Rican-born brothers played two of their original songs at the MTV EMA’s in Belfast (first video). They are currently on tour in the U.S. but will soon head across the pond for a European tour.


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Secure Communities Program Nabs Guatemalan Murderer and Prison Escapee

Secure Communities Program Nabs Guatemalan Murderer and Prison Escapee

Photo: Guatemalan Escaped Murderer Caught

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A Guatemalan national residing in Providence, who was wanted in his home country for numerous criminal charges including homicide, kidnapping and escaping from prison, was turned over to Guatemalan law enforcement authorities yesterday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE).

This individual was originally identified by ICE’s Secure Communities program after his arrest by the North Providence (R.I.) Police Department.

Alfredo Carrillo, 49, was arrested by local law enforcement Dec. 30, 2011. He was arrested under the name Feliberto Lopez and was in possession of a Mexican voter registration card. However, his fingerprints had a different story to tell. When state and local law enforcement arrest and book someone into a jail for a violation of a state criminal offense, they generally fingerprint the person. After fingerprints are taken at the jail, the state and local authorities electronically submit the fingerprints to the FBI. With the Secure Communities program, once the FBI checks the fingerprints, the FBI automatically sends them to ICE so that the agency can determine if that person is also subject to removal. Secure Communities is activated statewide in Rhode Island.

His fingerprints identified him as Carrillo, and it noted that he was a person of interest who may be armed and dangerous. The note also stated that he escaped from prison in Guatemala.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Carnival Cruise LIne to Invest Over $150 Million in Mexican Ports

Carnival Cruise LIne to Invest Over $150 Million in Mexican Ports

Photo: Carnival Cruises in Mexio

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Carnival Cruise Lines plans to invest more than $150 million to expand port infrastructure at destinations on Mexico’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the Tourism Secretariat said.

Carnival representatives and Mexican officials signed an agreement on the Caribbean island of Cozumel at a ceremony attended by President Felipe Calderon and tourism industry officials, the secretariat said.

The company has invested $100 million so far in Mexico and is now planning the development of nine new projects, such as the construction of a cruise terminal in Cozumel and another in Baja California Sur state, Carnival Cruise Lines president and CEO Gerard Cahill said.

The new projects will bolster foreign exchange earnings, create more direct and indirect jobs in the tourism industry, and increase cruise-passenger arrivals in Mexico, Cahill said.

Mexico is “an attractive destination for the development of tourism businesses,” the Carnival executive said.

Tourism industry leaders in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun, meanwhile, called on Calderon to back the campaign to counter the constant travel alerts for Mexico being issued by U.S. authorities.

Members of the Caribbean Business Coordinating Council, or CCEC, have launched the “Stop Warning, Our Tourists Are OK” campaign.

Cancun and the Riviera Maya welcome an average of 50,000 students from across the United States during spring break each year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrant Owned Businesses in Chicago Get a Boost

Immigrant Owned Businesses in Chicago Get a Boost

Photo: Little Village Chicago Immigrant Businesses

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday announced in the Mexican neighborhood of Little Village in Chicago a series of workshops to train and promote among immigrants the creation and expansion of small businesses.

The New Americans Small Business Series, which is being organized by the city office created to deal with the problems of local immigrants, will begin on March 31 at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Four workshops will be held each year, one every three months, to train immigrant small businesspeople to be able to access available local, state and federal resources.

“During the course of its history, Chicago has benefited and grown with the incredible effort of its immigrant community,” Emanuel said at a round table held in the Mi Tierra Mexican restaurant.

“Today, we want to be sure that the next generation of immigrants can achieve their dreams, support their families, create jobs in the neighborhoods and help the city define its future,” the mayor said.

Emanuel was accompanied by several elected Latino officials, among them Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who emphasized “the benefits the city receives by investing in its immigrants.”

At the same event, a donation of $25,000 from Western Union to the private Illinois DREAM fund was announced to be used for providing scholarships to undocumented students to pursue their college studies.

Gutierrez said that “there’s an enormous outcry” about immigrants during the current election campaign, and so “it’s very good to see a corporation, a mayor and a whole city rolling up their sleeves and asking ‘what can we do to help?’”

The same company will also finance the workshops through the New Americans Office and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to train immigrants in how to open a business, make their way through the licensing process, comply with fiscal laws and interact with chambers of commerce.

According to Census information, one in every five Chicago residents is an immigrant and the people in this group are 50 percent more likely to open a business than people born in the United States.

Clemente Nicado, the publication director of “Negocios Now” directed at the city’s Latino small businesspeople, told Efe that the main problem in the sector is the lack of access to capital.

He said that in Illinois there are 56,000 immigrant-owned businesses of which 22,000 are in the Chicago area.

However, commercial corridors like 26th Street in Little Village “have been hit hard by the crisis, particularly by the very high price of rents,” Nicado said.

Adolfo Hernandez, the director of the New Americans Office, said Thursday at the round table that “our challenge is for all immigrants to have the right to pursue the American Dream.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Singer Michel Telo Says He’s Not Worried About Song Authorship Case

Singer Michel Telo Says He’s Not Worried About Song Authorship Case

Photo: Singer Michel Telo Says He's Not Worried About Song Authorship Case

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Brazilian singer Michel Telo said that he is not in favor of a court blockade on the money collected from sales of his hit “Ai se eu te pego” until the controversy over the authorship of the song is resolved.

The funds were frozen by a court order issued by a judge on Monday in Joao Pessoa, the capital of the state of Paraiba, on the basis of a lawsuit by three women claiming they participated as co-authors in the writing of the music.

“I have nothing to do with that story. I’m just a musical performer. My assets are not blocked and I have all legal rights to interpret the music,” said Telo in a statement.

Last month, Brazilian singer Sharon Acioly, who is the composer of the song performed by Telo, announced an extrajudicial agreement with Karine Vinagre, Amanda Cruz and Aline Medeiros, three young women who claimed co-authorship of the song, but now three other young women are alleging that they also participated in writing the number.

The three who came to the out-of-court agreement argued that they made up the chorus of “Ai se eu te pego” in 2006 during a trip to the United States and two years later participated as dancers in one of Acioly’s concerts where they sang backup on the number, which the singer later made into a song she registered as her own along with musician Antonio Dyggs.

The blockade on the funds came in response to a request by students Marcella Ramalho, Maria Lucena and Amanda Cavalcanti, who said that they also participated in the composition of the chorus during the 2006 U.S. trip and they are demanding part of the funds earned with the hit, as performed by Telo.

Telo, who has just returned from a European tour, said his representatives have received “no legal notification about the matter ... (and) if there is any problem with the music, it must be resolved with the authors.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Called to Effectively Investigate Cases of Forced Disappearances that Continue to Occur

Mexico Called to Effectively Investigate Cases of Forced Disappearances that Continue to Occur

Photo: Forced Disappearances Mexico

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A group of independent United Nations human rights experts today called on the Mexican Government to develop effective measures to combat impunity in cases of enforced disappearances, which continue to take place in the country.

“There is a chronic pattern of impunity demonstrated by the absence of effective investigations in cases of enforced disappearances,” the UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances stated in a report that covers a mission carried out in March 2011 and was presented in Mexico City yesterday.

While noting the efforts made by Mexico in relation to human rights, the Group said that enforced disappearances have happened in the past and continue to occur, and require concerted action.

“This challenging situation cannot be confronted if respect for human rights is ignored. Cases of enforced disappearances cannot be exclusively attributed to organized crime without appropriate and thorough criminal investigation.”

In its report, the Group examined the situation regarding enforced disappearance in Mexico, the legal and institutional framework and the right to justice, truth and reparations, as well as the reality faced by particularly vulnerable groups, such as migrants, women, human rights defenders and journalists.

It stated that Mexico faces “a complicated situation” in relation to public security due to the increase in violence. “Concerns in relation to public security with respect to organized crime are real and the Working Group recognizes the right and the duty of the Mexican State to prosecute criminality.”

However, “this situation cannot be tackled at the expense of respect for human rights, or allowing the practice of enforced disappearances,” the Group stressed, adding that the military operatives deployed in the context of public security should be strictly limited and appropriately supervised by civil authorities.

Noting that “there is no comprehensive public policy and legal framework to deal with the different aspects of enforced disappearances,” the Group put forward 33 recommendations which cover prevention, investigations, sanctions, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearances, including the protection of particularly vulnerable groups.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayMarch 16, 2012