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Disappearances in the Post-Transition Era in Latin America$
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Karina Ansolabehere, Barbara A. Frey, and Leigh A. Payne

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197267226

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197267226.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

How to Create a Search Mechanism for Disappeared Persons: Lessons from Mexico

How to Create a Search Mechanism for Disappeared Persons: Lessons from Mexico

(p.262) 18 How to Create a Search Mechanism for Disappeared Persons: Lessons from Mexico
Disappearances in the Post-Transition Era in Latin America

Volga de Pina Ravest

British Academy

In this chapter, Volga de Pina analyses the principal characteristics of the search mechanism created in Mexico with the adoption of the 2017 General Law of Forced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance committed by Private Parties, and the National System of Search for Persons. The 2017 General Law was the result of a long lobbying process by networks of relatives of disappeared persons, Mexican non-governmental organisations, experts, and international agencies, that participated directly in defining its contents. The model that emerged separates the search from criminal investigation and places emphasis on locating disappeared persons, the main priority of the relatives. With this mechanism, the state’s obligations related to search are widened. To accomplish that goal, new definitions of disappeared and missing persons, a National Search Commission and local commissions in thirty-two states in the country, and specific tools and coordination systems were developed. The design emerged directly out of relatives’ experiences in searching for their family members. The observations that de Pina makes about the process is based on her participation in the discussion of the General Law and her experiences as a member of the Council of Citizens who advised and supervised the mechanism.

Keywords:   Disappeared Persons, General Law of Forced Disappearances, National system of search, Search, Search commission

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