Amnesty Int’l: Disappearances in Mexico a ‘Crisis’


June 5 , 2013

Source: ABC News

Amnesty International: Kidnappings in Mexico a ‘Crisis’

The number of unsolved disappearances in Mexico constitutes a national scandal and a human rights crisis, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing what it called a systematic failure by police and prosecutors to investigate thousands of cases that have piled up since 2006.

Rupert Knox, Amnesty’s Mexico investigator, said relatives are often forced to search for missing loved ones themselves, sometimes at considerable risk.

Kidnappings-Mexico_City

Adding insult to injury, Knox said police and prosecutors often don’t even bother to use the information that relatives dig up. Instead, police routinely assume that the missing are caught up in Mexico’s drug cartel conflicts.

“They are stigmatized, they are treated with disdain, and the typical thing is to say the victims were members of criminal gangs,” Knox said. “That is a demonstration of the negligence that has allowed this problem to grow into a national scandal and a human rights crisis.”

The federal government says some 26,000 people have been reported missing since the government launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006, though officials have said the true number is probably lower, because some people reported missing have since been found or accounted for but never taken off the list.

Mexico Violent Bars.JPEG

Brenda Rangel is the sister of Hector Rangel, who disappeared along with two friends in 2009 after being stopped by police for a traffic violation and was never seen again. She is sure her brother wasn’t involved in criminal activity. A young businessman, he had gone to the northern state of Coahuila, which is a hotbed of the Zetas drug gang, to collect a payment from a client.

Rangel says her brother last called to say he was in police custody, and she said the family has given authorities the number of the squad car, and even the names of the policemen involved in the detention. But she said prosecutors told her the officers were fired from the local police force in Monclova, Coahuila, and couldn’t be located. In Mexico, it is not uncommon for local policemen to work for drug gangs.

Nearing the fourth year in her brother’s disappearance, that kind of shrugging response is driving Rangel and her family to desperation, and into danger, since they can’t let it rest.

“We have received death threats,” she said, adding: “I have run risks, I have gone into safe houses, I have had to disguise myself in different ways to look for my brother.”

One by one, other parents and siblings of missing Mexicans stood up and recounted their horror stories: cases in which authorities themselves, police or the military, appear to have been involved in the disappearances.

Mexico’s government announced last week that it is creating a special unit to search for missing people. But the unit has only 12 federal investigators and a group of federal police agents to cover all the cases.

Recover_Abducted_Child_Mexico

Knox said such agencies have been tried before in Mexico but have accomplished little, in part because they have lacked the resources, manpower and authority to really perform their task.

“The authorities have always seen them (the special units) as a way to reduce public pressure and blow off steam,” Knox said.

While Rangel and the other victims’ families maintain faith that their loved ones are still alive, perhaps subjected to forced labor by the drug cartels, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission has received information on 15,921 unidentified bodies that have passed through morgues in Mexico, some of which could belong to the missing.

A recent case in Mexico City has highlighted the difficulties surrounded cases of suspected disappearances.

On May 26, a group of young people disappeared from a Mexico City after-hours bar just off the city’s main Reforma boulevard, a block and a half from the U.S. Embassy. Relatives had initially indicated 11 people were missing, but authorities raised the number of 12 Tuesday night.

 Kidnapping-Mexico-2013

The young people were from the rough-and-tumble Tepito neighborhood and their disappearance only came to light after their parents and other Tepito residents held a protest that blocked a major road. Media reports later said that the fathers of two of the missing young men were suspected former Tepito crime bosses currently doing time in prison.

A witness who said he escaped from the abduction said the young people were taken away by gunmen in masks after partying through the night at the bar. Prosecutors said Tuesday night that surveillance video was found showing the young people entering the bar, but wouldn’t say if there was footage showing them leaving or being abducted.

The witness who reported the kidnapping can no longer be found. The bar’s owner also is missing, but prosecutors said Tuesday night that two waiters and a woman had been detained in the case.

The families have put up missing-person posters with photos of their loved ones throughout the area, and say that almost 10 days later they still have not come home.

 

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Brazil to Install Border Security Cameras


June 1, 2013

Source: Insightcrime.org

Brazil will install video surveillance cameras along the 17,000 kilometer border it shares with 10 other countries, as part of a national public security strategy aimed at combating organized crime along the frontier.

Border_Security_Brazil

Brazil’s National Public Security Secretariat will provide $13.9 million (29.5 million Brazilian reales) to 60 municipalities in 11 states that border other countries, for the purchase and installation of at least 624 security cameras, Folha reported. Funds will also be used for the transmission systems, video surveillance reception, and the training of system operators. Muncipal, state and federal authorities will work together to review the images

The cameras will be particularly heavily clustered along the border with Paraguay, in the Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina departments, according to Folha’s map.

InSight Crime Analysis

Installing security cameras is part of a wider initiative focusing on Brazil’s border security. Since the implementation of the “Strategic Border Plan” in August 2011, Brazil has reportedly broken up 65 criminal organizations operating along the frontier. Brazil has also signed cooperation agreements with a number of countries, most recently Bolivia, in an attempt to help further secure its borders.

Rio-amazonas

As Latin America’s largest market for cocaine and a transhipment point for drugs going to Europe, border security is a major issue for Brazil. Bolivian and Peruvian cocaine is shipped from Bolivia or through Paraguay, along routes controlled by Brazilian gangs. Human trafficking is also a major problem, leading the government to recently invest in ten new control posts in border towns.

It is worth questioning whether the increased camera surveillance will significantly impact border crime, and whether the cost will be worth the investment. The US has had mixed results with its own expensive border strategy, which emphasized the use of technology. Geographical factors may make surveillance particularly difficult in some regions of Brazil, such as the Amazon. Moreover, evidence from the US has suggested that increased border security in certain zones simply shifts illegal crossings into different areas.

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Kidnappings in Mexico: 11 kidnapped in daylight from Mexico City bar


May 31, 2013

Source: nbcnews

MEXICO CITY — Eleven young people were brazenly kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, a normally calm district of offices, restaurants, drinking spots and dance clubs, anguished relatives said Thursday.

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The apparent mass abduction purportedly happened sometime between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday just off the Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s main boulevard, near the Angel of Independence monument and less than two blocks from the U.S. Embassy.

The incident was the second recent high-publicity blemish for the city’s largely unregulated entertainment scene, coming 20 days after the grandson of American civil rights activist Malcolm X was beaten to death at another tough bar in the downtown area.

Calling for authorities to find their loved ones, family members marched Thursday morning from the Interior Department building to the Zocalo, the city’s main square. Later they protested outside the bar, which bears a sign that reads Bicentenario Restaurante-Bar, and demanded to see the bar’s surveillance video.

“How could so many people have disappeared, just like that, in broad daylight?” asked Josefina Garcia, mother of Said Sanchez Garcia, 19, her only son. “The police say they don’t have them, so what, the earth just opened up and swallowed them?”

Kidnappings-Mexico_City

She said her son wasn’t involved in any criminal activity, and worked at a market stall selling beauty products.

City prosecutors said they had received 11 missing-person reports, but Garcia said residents of the tough downtown neighborhood of Tepito where the victims live thought as many as 15 or 16 people could have been abducted.

The known missing include six men, most in their 20s, a 16-year-old boy and four young women.

While no clear motives had been revealed in the attack, residents of Tepito said there has been a wave of abductions of neighborhood young people in recent months that could be related to organized crime activities. Tepito is the center of black market activities in the city, where guns, drugs, stolen goods and contraband are widely sold.

MexicoMap

Mass abductions have been rare in Mexico City, but are common in parts of the country where drug cartels operate and are fighting with rival gangs over territory.

Prosecutors slapped closure stickers on the front doors of the Mexico City bar Thursday, with inscriptions saying the city’s anti-kidnapping unit was investigating abductions at the site.

Late Thursday night, dozens of members of a special police intervention unit, many carrying automatic weapons and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, blocked off the street in front of the bar and searched inside. Officers would not comment on what they were looking for.

Isabel Fonseca, whose brother is among those missing, said a man who escaped told her that masked men arrived in several white SUVs and took the group away. She said her brother, Eulogio Fonseca, is a street vendor who sells cellphone accessories.

“We want them alive,” Fonseca said. “They went out to have fun; they are not criminals.”

Mexico City’s chief prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios, said investigators had been able to glean little information on the disappearances.

Relatives believe the youths were at the club, which they know as “Heaven,” around midmorning Sunday, when waiters and bar employees herded them out to the street and armed men bundled them into waiting vehicles and spirited them away.

Rios said police had not located any employees of the bar and no other witnesses had presented themselves.

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Risk Management – Kidnapping Gangs Shift from Venezuela-Colombia Border


May 21, 2013

Source: insightcrime.org

Binational kidnapping gangs made up of Colombians and Venezuelans are spreading from the border states into central Venezuela, fuelling a trend that has seen Venezuela overtake Colombia as a kidnapping hotspot.

FARC-Gerilja_Colombia

Over the course of a week,Venezuelan courts sentencedseven Colombians and one Venezuelan to prison for kidnapping in the central state of Yaracuy, while an alleged kidnapping gang consisting of four Venezuelans and one Colombian was broken up in the border state of Tachira.

According to police sources cited by El Nacional, the cases are part of a trend that in recent months has seen Colombian and Venezuelan kidnappers working together both in western and central Venezuela. According to the newspaper, there have also been reports of binational gangs in the Capital District and the states of Merida and Zulia, near the border.

InSight Crime Analysis

Over the last decade, Venezuela and Colombia have been on opposite trajectories when it comes to kidnapping. In 2012, Colombia recorded 85 percent less kidnappings than in 2002, when the country was renowned as the world’s kidnapping capital. In contrast, kidnapping in Venezuela rose by an estimated 430 percent between 1999 and 2011 (although statistics from Venezuelan should be approached cautiously, as a lack of trust in official figures has led to organizations using estimates rather than the officially reported numbers). In 2012, there were 1,970 kidnappings in Venezuela, according to a study by criminologist Fermin Marmol Garcia, compared to 305 in Colombia.

The Venezuela-Colombia border is a hive for criminal activity, much of it fuelled by the cross-border operations of narco-paramilitary groups such as the Rastrojos. Colombian guerrilla groups like the FARC and the ELN are know to conduct kidnapping operations in Colombian border states like Arauca, then move their victims into Venezuela, where the ransom is then collected. The general atmosphere of lawlessness in this border region has almost certainly contributed to the growth of binational kidnapping rings, including those which are now reportedly moving away from the frontier states and more deeply into Venezuelan territory.

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Europol : Mexican cartels gain ground in European drug trade


April 14, 2013

Source: LA Times

MEXICO CITY—Mexican drug cartels are striving to become “key players in the European drugs market,”  Europol officials said Friday.

Europol-Drug

Their statement, issued from Europol headquarters in the Hague, said that Mexican criminals have become “global market coordinators” in trafficking cocaine and synthetic drugs to Europe. Police officials also alleged that Mexicans were moving firearms from southeast Europe and trading them with cocaine dealers in the Americas. They also specifically cited the Zetas cartel–perhaps the most ruthless of the Mexican gangs—for reportedly trafficking human beings “for sexual exploitation” from northeast Europe to Mexico.

Concerns about the presence of Mexican cartels in Europe are not new, but the statement by theEuropean Union’s top crime-fighting agency underscores a growing worry about the Mexican criminal groups’ ambitious plans for global expansion. Fears have spread across the Mexican border to nearby Texas, and as far away as Southeast Africa.

Last month, Texas’ public safety department declared that Mexican cartels were the “the most significant organized crime threat” to the Lone Star State. Along with other criminal groups, the cartels are suspected not only to be deeply involved in the Texas drug trade, but also to be responsible for extortion, kidnappings, public corruption and money laundering, according to the report, an annual threat assessment issued by the agency.

In May, a deputy administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration told a group of U.S. senators that Mexican cartels are involved in the African methamphetamine trade, and have “documented links” to criminal groups in Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We haven’t identified specific cartel activity in Africa,” a DEA official told the Voice of America in June. “We’ve identified Mexicans in Africa, and we know they are affiliated with cartels – we just haven’t put it together.”

The Europol statement said that law enforcement officials had recently “averted” the Sinaloa Cartel’s attempts to set up a major European cocaine wholesaling operation. Thus far, according to the report, few violent incidents in Europe have been attributed to the Mexicans.

“We do not want the level of violence and brutality which we see in Mexico mirrored in Europe,” said Rob Wainwright, the Europol director.

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International parental child abductions rise with global migration


February 26, 2013

Source: TheStar.com

As cross-border relationships become more common, so do cases involving kids seized and taken to another country. Left-behind parents want changes to the law.
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Stephen Watkins and sons, Alexander and Christopher. Police believe the boys are in Poland.

When a grandfather was found guilty last year of helping his daughter abduct her two boys to Poland, history was made. It was Canada’s first criminal conviction involving international child abduction by a parent.

Outside the Newmarket court where 78-year-old Tadeusz Ustaszewski’s sentencing was taking place, a group of Canadian parents held up signs and photos of their missing children, hoping to draw public attention to the issue of cross-border child abductions by estranged spouses.

Frustrated by legal bureaucracy, countries indifferent to Canadian court orders, and what they say is scant support from the Canadian government, left-behind parents have launched their own advocacy group. They plan to campaign for changes in the law to better detect and prevent child abduction.

“People paint it as a custody matter, but really, these countries have signed the international treaties and do not comply with these treaties.”

STEPHEN WATKINS – FOUNDING MEMBER OF ICHAPEAU

So far, the group involves 13 families and 16 “lost” children. It is part of a growing movement in North America for stronger enforcement of the Hague Child Abduction Convention — a 32-year-old international treaty that deals with the return of children abducted by a non-custodial parent and transferred from one country to another.

“The fact is you have this melting pot of different nationalities. You date people of different nationalities, get married, have children — and they decide to go home,” said Stephen Watkins, a founding member of iCHAPEAU (International Child Harbouring & Abduction Prevention Enforcement Act Under-law).

“People paint it as a custody matter, but really, these countries have signed the international treaties and do not comply with these treaties.”

With the ease of global travel and explosion of Internet romances, the world has become smaller. Romantic relationships — and breakups — that span national borders have become more common.

These relationship breakdowns, often nasty for adults in the same locale, can be even more complicated when children and multiple government jurisdictions are involved.

A 2012 study by Nigel Lowe and Victoria Stephens at the Cardiff Law School in the United Kingdom found that the global number of Hague Convention applications to retrieve an abducted child had risen by 45 per cent since 2003.

According to a U.S. State Department report, the number of new international parental child abduction cases in the United States alone has doubled since 2006, from 642 to 1,135, with the majority of cases involving children taken to one of the convention’s 89 signatory countries.

But the child return rate is far from satisfactory. In 2009, the report said, only 436 children abducted to or wrongfully retained in other countries were returned to the U.S. Of these children, 324, or 74 per cent, were from a convention country.

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“The goal of the convention is to establish clearly defined procedures for the prompt return of children . . . to provide an effective deterrent to parents who contemplate abducting their children,” said the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention.

“Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of redoubling efforts to promote compliance with convention obligation and encourage additional nations to join it.”

A left-behind parent can apply through what’s known as the central authority of his or her country to have a wrongfully removed child returned to the place of “habitual residence.”

The parent must provide details of the case in the Hague Convention application, which will then be sent by the central authority to the foreign state to which the child was taken.

Once the application is received, the court in the receiving country must determine if the conditions set out for the child’s return are met and if any exceptions to the return of the child exist.

Canada does not maintain national statistics on the number of Hague Convention applications and number of child returns to the country, said Carole Saindon, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, which oversees the central authority administration in Canada.

“It is important to note that a decision by a court not to order the return of a child does not mean that the convention is not being properly applied in that state,” Saindon said in an email.

“While a left-behind parent may not agree with the child leaving Canada, the situation does not necessarily constitute a wrongful removal or retention for the purposes of the Hague Convention.”

In instances where a left-behind parent is dissatisfied with the result, she said, the parent or the Canadian central authority can raise their concerns with the foreign central authority and attempt to resolve any issues.

However, “where a left-behind parent disagrees with the decision of a foreign court not to return his or her child, he or she needs to evaluate the matter in consultation with private legal counsel,” Saindon said.

The issue of international child abduction is not new, but it received global attention in 2008 with the case of Sean Goldman, the child at the centre of an international legal battle between his American father, David Goldman, and the family of his deceased Brazilian ex-wife, Bruna Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro.

After winning his son back in 2009 with a favourable decision by the Brazilian Supreme Court, Sean’s father and his supporters, in the same year, established the Bring Sean Home Foundation, run by volunteers for the campaign to return internationally abducted children.

Most significantly, the foundation has been pushing for the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act (HR1940) — an inspiration for Watkins, whose sons, Christopher and Alexander, were taken to Poland in 2009 by their mother, Ustaszewski’s daughter, Edyta.

“The biggest reason the convention is largely inefficient is there are no penalties for non-compliance. There are no repercussions for not complying,” said Mark DeAngelis, the foundation’s executive director.

The bill, expected to be introduced to the U.S. Congress in 2013, proposes establishing an Office on International Child Abductions to promote measures to prevent abductions from the U.S., advocate for abducted children and assist left-behind parents in resolving their cases.

Watkins, of iCHAPEAU, said Canada should adopt a similar approach and penalize convention non-compliant nations by delaying or cancelling official visits and scientific and cultural exchanges; withdrawing Canadian development assistance; and restricting travel by their nationals.

“We need to impose sanctions against non-compliant countries,” said Watkins, adding that educating Canadian officials in child welfare and courts to flag at-risk cases is also key to abduction prevention.

Jeffery Morehouse of Bring Abducted Children Home, an advocacy group for American left-behind parents, agrees.

“We need to have an open public discussion of what’s going on,” he said from Washington. “We must step up and be vocal. Enough is enough. We are not going to condone the trafficking of children to a foreign country without recourse.”

More: The tales of four left-behind Canadian parents

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U.S. MARSHALS UPDATE: Mother Arrested In Parental Abduction, Attempting To Cross Border


Source: michellesigona.com

UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM U.S. MARSHALS: Concerning the Parental Kidnapping case against twenty-nine year old Laney Smith (AKA: Laney Wyble) who kidnapped her seven-year-old child, Macey;

the two were located and arrested in Sweetwater, Montana attempting to cross into Canada.  Initial reports suggest that they did in-fact make it into Canada, but the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was able to detect Laney’s fugitive status and escort her back into the custody of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  Laney has been arrested pursuant to Simple Kidnapping charges brought by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and Macey will be placed in Montana’s Child and Family Services Division.

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Older updates in the case:

U.S. Marshals in Louisiana need your help locating a woman wanted for kidnapping. Authorities say Laney Smith abducted her daughter, Macey, and fled the state of Louisiana on February 5, 2012. This was the date Macey’s father, Shane, was granted full custody.

There is urgency to locate Macey in this case because Marshals say she has a serious medical condition that needs to be treated and if it goes untreated, Macey could die.

Marshals believe Laney Smith is traveling with her boyfriend, Cody Wyble and they were tracked to Little Rock, Arkansas a few weeks ago. Smith used a U-haul to take her things and her vehicle to Little Rock. That is where investigators say she dropped off the truck and drove away in her 2004 red Nissan Sentra (Louisiana tags: NXK 118).

A warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest on February 28, 2012. She stands 5’4” and weighs about 125 pounds. Smith has brown eyes and blonde hair.

If you have any information, please contact: (337) 251-6921

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Mexico / U.S – Cross-Border Child Custody, a Legal Tangle


Source: IPS News

MEXICO CITY, Jan 14, 2012 (IPS) – Mexican or foreign-born children being held by one of their parents in this or another country are caught up in a legal tangle marred by red tape and the arbitrary powers of judges, according to experts.

The claim for restitution of an under-age child taken to another country, or to Mexico, is based on the Inter-American Convention on International Restitution of Minors (IACIRM), ratified by Mexico in 1994, and the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which came into force in 1983.

“Lawmakers are not necessarily familiar with the provisions of the conventions. Most judges do not use them as references in their decisions. And the red tape, when a child is abducted from or brought to Mexico, is a real ordeal for the families,” Martín Pérez, head of the Network for Children’s Rights in Mexico (REDIM), told IPS.

Moreover, the families “have to undertake the search for their children using their own resources,” added Pérez, the executive director of REDIM, a coalition of 63 NGOs that carries out programmes for vulnerable children and adolescents.

In 2008, there were 272 petitions for the return of children to custody, compared to 123 in 2003, according to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. These figures do not include petitions brought under the IACIRM.

And there were 168 demands for restitution under the IACIRM in 2008, an increase of 522 percent compared with 2003.

Fifteen Latin American and Caribbean nations reported 315 petitions for the return of minors in 2008, equivalent to 16 percent of the world total. In 61 of these cases, both countries involved were within the region.

In 2010, there were 221 such cases in Mexico; 101 of them involved the abduction from this country to others of 141 children or adolescents; and the remaining 120 cases involved 169 irregular transfers of minors from other countries to Mexico, according to the foreign ministry, which is the designated central authority in Mexico tasked with fulfilling the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention.

Mexico’s free trade treaties, like the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States and the 2000 Global Agreement with the European Union, brought transnational companies flocking to Mexico, creating opportunities for marriage between Mexican citizens and foreigners as well as increasing the presence of couples from other countries.

“We don’t have national legislation for detecting, warning and following up on these kinds of cases. There is no comprehensive system for the protection of children, paying paramount attention to the best interests of the child, nor of measures to benefit mothers and children,” Nashieli Ramírez, general coordinator of Ririki Intervención Social, an NGO active on behalf of the rights of children, told IPS.

The aim of the Inter-American and the Hague conventions is for minors to be returned to their country of origin when they have been illegally taken away or kept in another, and for a parent’s custody rights, granted by any state, to be respected and monitored.

In 2008 there were 36 cases in Mexico in which children were voluntarily returned, nine of which involved a court decision based on an agreement between the parents and 22 on decisions without an agreement, while in another 34 cases restitution was legally denied because the child did not reside in the petitioning country, or the petitioner did not have custody rights.

Forty-nine percent of the persons who brought the legal complaints were fathers, and 47 percent mothers. In 2008, 270 children were involved in the lawsuits, 51 percent of whom were girls and 49 percent boys. This contrasted with 2003, when the gender balance was markedly skewed, with 64 percent of the children being girls.

Final decisions on the proceedings can take months, comparable to the global average. Voluntary repatriations took an average of 232 days, compared to the world average of 121 days, while restitution by court order took 206 days, and judicial denials 290 days, on average.

Time is regarded as a key factor by the experts, especially in cases where the mother has been a victim of domestic violence and the child is at risk.

In its 2011 response to the questionnaire on fulfilment of the Hague Abduction Convention, Mexico’s foreign ministry acknowledged that while some judges were experts on international abduction of minors, the majority were experts in family law.

It also indicated that legal advice was provided at the start of proceedings, but the parties involved had to find their own legal representation, at their own cost.

“The children’s views are not consistently taken into account, and the legal rights of the plaintiff are not safeguarded. Therefore, legislative harmonisation, training of judges and lawmakers and clear procedures are required,” REDIM’s Pérez recommended. A new feature observed by experts is “parental alienation”, involving brainwashing of the abducted minor by the abducting parent against the other, which inflicts emotional damage on the child.

The foreign ministry also admitted that it does not use the Hague Convention’s iChild system.

iChild is an electronic case management tool that is used to identify, save and share information and monitor cases of child abduction.

“What predominates in Mexico is a view of children as part of the private domain, and not the public domain. So the issue needs to be on the public agenda and in the state budget,” said Ramírez, of Ririki Intervención Social.

In October 2011, a constitutional reform established that the best interest of the child was to be the guiding principle in all the decisions and actions of the state.

But the problem of parental abductions of minors does not appear in campaigns on behalf of children organised by NGOs, nor is it mentioned among the recommendations made to the Mexican state by the internationally elected Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child, as part of its task of monitoring implementation of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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