Washington/Geneva (17 November 2017) - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons welcome Recommendation No. 39/2017, issued by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), which recognized that 2,038 people from the municipalities of Choix and Sinaloa de Leyva, in the state of Sinaloa, were forced to move due to violence and a lack of security measures on the part of state and municipal authorities. The IACHR and the Special Rapporteur highlight that this is the first pronouncement by a Mexican authority recognizing the human right to not be a victim of forced internal displacement as a consequence of violence in Mexico.
In Recommendation No. 39/2017, the CNDH ordered reparation for the internally displaced persons through restitution measures designed to protect their property rights; rehabilitation measures, including the elaboration and implementation of an immediate attention program for internally displaced persons; satisfaction measures, such as the elaboration of a study to establish, at minimum, the current situation of insecurity in the municipalities of Choix and Sinaloa de Leyva and the elaboration and implementation of a security protocol that aims to lower rates of violence so that displaced people can return to their homes; and guarantees of non-repetition, which include a census and study of people who have been internally displaced, action protocols to guarantee the rights of internally displaced persons, a legislative bill to prevent internal displacement in Sinaloa, and a protocol for the investigation of cases of internal forced displacement, according to which the facts and crimes related to displacement will be investigated. Additionally, the CNDH considered that the problem of internal displacement as a consequence of violence may also be a problem in other states of Mexico, and so sent a copy of the recommendation to the National Conference of Governors in order for it to analyze the situation and have tools to allow it to identify situations of internal forced displacement in their respective states.
The IACHR and UN Special Rapporteur further recognize the importance of the work that the CNDH has been carrying out in recent years to address the situation of internally displaced persons in Mexico, in particular through actions including its Special Report on Forced Internal Displacement (2016); the elaboration and publication of the Protocol for Attention to and Protection of Victims of Forced Internal Displacement in Mexico (2017); the International Forum regarding Forced Internal Displacement (August 2017); and the publication of the Declaration of Mexico regarding Forced Internal Displacement (August 2017).
The IACHR and the UN Special Rapporteur note that among the main findings of the Special Report on Forced Internal Displacement of the CNDH are the recognition of the seriousness of the problem of forced internal displacement in Mexico for different reasons, including violence and human rights violations (often affecting specific groups such as journalists or human rights defenders), natural disasters, and development projects. According to the CNDH, this situation is invisible as a consequence of the non-recognition of the phenomenon by Mexican authorities and the absence of official statistics. In this regard, the CNDH Report takes up the recommendations made by the IACHR in its Report on the Human Rights of Migrants and Other Persons in the Context of Human Mobility in Mexico (2013) and Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico (2015), emphasizing the need to prepare a national study of internal forced displacement in Mexico and to adopt a national policy to address this phenomenon in accordance with inter-American and international standards in this area.
"This CNDH Recommendation recognizes for the first time the problem of internal forced displacement as a consequence of violence originated by organized crime and allows 2,038 people to be recognized as victims and obtain full reparation. This advance in terms of internal displacement by the CNDH is a call to state and federal authorities to recognize the problem of internal displacement and to take concrete measures aimed at preventing other situations of this kind, and is a step forward for the authorities responsible to ensure that internally displaced persons are recognized as victims and therefore protected, and that they have access to humanitarian assistance, durable solutions, and comprehensive reparation," said Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons of the IACHR.
“The work of the CNDH, and this recommendation in particular, are a clear example of the fundamental role that national human rights institutions can play as effective promoters of the rights of internally displaced persons, particularly in terms of the visibility of the phenomenon; advocacy actions; training of officials and others on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement; and monitoring of the rights of internally displaced persons," said the UN Special Rapporteur, Cecilia Jimenez Damary. "National human rights institutions play a fundamental role in the protection of internally displaced persons, and for this reason I have decided to make their promotion a priority during my mandate," added the UN Rapporteur.
The IACHR and the UN Special Rapporteur urge the authorities of the State of Sinaloa to accept and fully comply with this recommendation of the CNDH. In addition, the IACHR and the UN Special Rapporteur urge Mexico to recognize the problem of internal forced displacement. We also call on the Mexican State to prepare a complete study and adopt public policies and specific legislation aimed at preventing internal displacement, as well as to protect, provide humanitarian assistance to, and ensure durable solutions for internally displaced persons, such as return, resettlement, and reintegration. We further call on Mexico to ensure that at the federal level there is an institution responsible for protecting persons against forced displacement, in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, whose twentieth anniversary will be celebrated in 2018.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the respect for and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, a human rights lawyer specialized in forced displacement and migration, has over two decades of experience in nongovernmental organizations that advocate for human rights. She was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the Human Rights Council in 2016. As Special Rapporteur, she is part of the “special procedures” of the Human Rights Council. Special procedures—the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system—is the general term for the Human Rights Council’s investigative and monitoring mechanisms to address country-specific or thematic situations around the world. The special procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff members and do not receive financial remuneration for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in a personal capacity.