Today, January 18th , we have requested the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) to require the Mexican Government to find Ricardo Lagunes and Antonio Díaz as soon as possible. We have requested that the CED activate its Article 30 procedure, whereby “A request that a disappeared person should be sought and found may be submitted to the Committee, as a matter of urgency, by relatives of the disappeared person or their legal representatives, their counsel or any person authorized by them, as well as by any other person having a legitimate interest.”
All appropriate Mexican authorities must immediately engage in this investigation, using all the resources at their disposal, and then present reports on all activity. As has been widely announced, last Sunday, January 15 th , 2023, the human rights advocates Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca and Antonio Díaz Valencia left the town of San Miguel de Aquila, Michoacán, to return to the State of Colima. They were last heard from at 6:50pm in Coahuayana, Michoacán. Their vehicle was found on the side of the road with bullet holes and flat tires, and bullet shells on the ground. To date, there is no information as to their fate or location. It is presumed that Ricardo’s and Antonio’s disappearance owes to their dedicated defense of the collective rights of the San Miguel Aquila indigenous community. The State of Mexico has significant obligations to protect human rights defenders, including those who defend the environment and communal lands. Article 9 of the Escazú Agreement, a treaty ratified by Mexico, sets out state duties to “take appropriate, effective and timely measures to prevent, investigate and punish attacks, threats or intimidations that human rights defenders in environmental matters.” Furthermore, the CED established in the Guiding Principles for the Search for Disappeared Persons that the search should begin without delay, and all actions should be efficient, exhaustive and impartial.
Idheas: Litigio estratégico en derechos humanos
Global Rights Advocacy
Asesoría y Defensa Legal del Sureste
International Human Rights Clinic, Seattle University School of Law