Proposal 5: Against disappearance in Mexico - Centro Fray Juan de Larios

Peace Award 2019: Shortlist Award of the Donors

Against disappearance in Mexico - Centro Fray Juan de Larios
Every day, people in Mexico are brutally kidnapped. According to reports, more than 37,000 people are reported missing. The Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios support families whose relatives have gone missing.

They just briefly go out shopping, to deliver plants or just step outside their front door – and never return. It is often young women and men, but also children, who suddenly disappear without a trace. According to reports, they are abused or tortured, forced into prostitution and drug smuggling or murdered for their organs. The remains are buried in rural areas, burnt or dissolved in acid.

Coahuila is one of the federal states in Mexico where the greatest number of people disappear. There, in 2001, the archbishop and Dominican brother Raúl Vera López founded the Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios. The centre sees itself as a middle-class, Christian-Ecumenical inspired organisation. It supports victims, demands support and initiates legislative initiatives.

In order to reach this aim, Fray Juan de Larios documents which people have disappeared, connects affected families and supports their search for missing relatives. The families organise themselves in the group Fuerzas Unidas por Nuestros Desaparecidos en Coahuila y Mexico (FUUNDEC-M), which uses the motto "¡Nos Haces Falta!" to search for missing people and thus make the violent disappearance visible.

In July 2017, the documentation of the cases enabled Fray Juan de Larios, in cooperation with other organisations, to demand from the International Criminal Court that an investigation be conducted into the crimes against humanity in Mexico. In addition, Fray Juan de Larios cooperates in making both federal and national laws to address the phenomenon of the missing people in Mexico.

Therefore, at the end of 2017 in Coahuila, the state exhumation plan came into force. It aims to identify all the people buried anonymously as well as all the human remains found in the fields. The exhumation of dead bodies is carried out by the authorities on a monthly basis, documented by the families and accompanied by Fray Juan de Larios.

Furthermore, FUUNDEC-M and Fray Juan de Larios have written a long-term national agenda, in which they demand the creation of a nationwide plan, and a national register for people who have disappeared as well as a public prosecutor to guarantee support for family members. Meanwhile, the   request for a General Law on Disappearance is supported by a national movement, the Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparicidos en Mexico, a unique movement in the recent history of the country.

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