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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Enforced Disappearance in Mexico

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:00am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the problem of forced disappearance in Mexico, including recommendations for prevention, investigation and prosecution of the crime.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance defines enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

For the past decade, Mexico has experienced an unprecedented rise in the number and seriousness of human rights violations, including disappearances. According to the government’s own figures, more than 30,000 disappearances occurred in Mexico from 2007 to July 2017. As of March 2014, there were records of only six convictions.  The still unresolved disappearance of 43 students from the Normal School in Ayotzinapa in September 2014 has drawn international attention to this grave situation. The Mexican government has committed to adopting a law to address the consequences of disappearances, and the Senate passed a bill in April 2017. The Chamber of Deputies has yet to act.

Panelists will present their work representing families of the disappeared and documenting patterns of violations, and discuss best practices for investigations, including the recently revised Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Unlawful Deaths.

This briefing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at 202-226-1516 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening Remarks


  • Michael Chamberlin, Deputy Director, Human Rights Center "Fray Juan de Larios," Coahuila, Mexico
    Written statement
  • Ariel Dulitzky, University of Texas Law School and former member of the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances
    Written statement
  • Jimena Reyes, Americas Director, International Federation for Human Rights
    Written statement


  • Barbara Frey, Director, Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota
    Written statement



115th Congress