View Adopted: 2021.03.25
The author is a national of Mexico and so is her son, for whom she filed the communication in tutelage of his rights. Within a context of serious human rights violations and enforced disappearances due to police involvement with organised crime groups, a group of officers displaying uniforms of the local police unit entered the author’s home while her and her son were present. They took her son with them and stole some possessions from the house. Despite reporting the event to the police promptly, after 10 years the author has not received any substantial information on the whereabouts of her son. The author claims that the State party has violated her and her son’s rights under articles 2 (3), 6, 7, 9, 16 and 17 of the Covenant.
All claims of admissibility are sufficiently sustained as any claims to the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies by the State party are unjustified; particularly as the case’s processing has been unreasonably prolonged (10 years) given the urgent circumstances on the whereabouts of the author’s son.
The Committee was of the view that the circumstantial evidence of the involvement of State agents was sufficient to reverse the burden of proof on the State party to prove lack of involvement with the disappearance. The Committee recalled that, while the Covenant does not explicitly use the term “enforced disappearance”, such is in violation of many rights. The State has failed to take the necessary steps to preserve Mr. Hidalgo’s life under article 6. The State has subjected the author to inhuman treatment under article 7 due to the anguish and suffering caused by the disappearance and lack of investigations as well as the author’s discovery that the State was in possession of a body since 2013 that could have been Mr. Hidalgo’s, under article 7 read in conjunction with article 2(3). The State’s act also deprived Mr. Hidalgo of his recognition as a person before the law under article 16. The State also arbitrarily detained Mr. Hidalgo under article and interfered with the author’s privacy by entering her home and stealing. Due to the slow and ineffective investigation and progress of justice, the State also violated the author and Mr. Hidalgo’s right to effective remedy.
The Committee concluded that the State party was in violation of articles 6 (1), 7, 9 and 16 of the Covenant, article 2 (3) read in conjunction with 6, 7, 9 and 16, in respect of Mr. Rivera Hidalgo; and 7 and 17, 2 (3) read in conjunction with 7 and 17, in respect of the author of the communication.
he State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy. The State party is obligated to take appropriate steps to provide Ms. Hidalgo Rea with:
a prompt, effective, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation
ensure the release of Mr. Rivera Hidalgo if he is still alive;
if Mr. Rivera Hidalgo is deceased, hand over his remains to his family investigate and punish any type of action that might have hindered the effectiveness of the search process;
provide the author with detailed information on the outcome of the investigation;
prosecute and punish the persons found responsible for the violations committed and make the results of those proceedings public;
grant the author, as well as Mr. Rivera Hidalgo if he is still alive, full reparation, including adequate compensation for the violations suffered and medical and psychological support.
The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
Deadline to provide follow-up information on implementation: 25/09/2021
Author: Laura Cestaro