MIAMI, Florida (December 22, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed satisfaction at a decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to admit the unpunished case of the disappearance since 2005 of Mexican journalist José Alfredo Jiménez Mota.
The case was submitted to the IACHR on March 11, 2009, following an investigation carried out by the IAPA's Rapid Response Unit in Mexico. Jiménez Mota was 25 years old when he went missing on April 2, 2005 while covering matters linked to organized crime and public safety for the newspaper El Imparcial in Hermosillo, in the northern state of Sonora.
The IACHR concluded that it was competent to review the case and that the IAPA submission was admissible. It allowed the parties – the IAPA and the Mexican government – the possibility to reach an amicable solution and reported that in October this year it had approved a report on the case, assigning it the reference number 13.007.
Among the arguments submitted by the IAPA to the IACHR was the fact that in this case there had been violations of constitutional guarantees that went beyond this journalist but also affected his family concerning the right to the truth, and his colleagues for the impunity and the failure of the government to provide security for them to do their work independently and safely.
In April this year the IAPA noted the 10th anniversary of Jiménez Mota's disappearance, publicly complaining of the Mexican government's lack of progress and the impunity surrounding this case and numerous cases of the murder of journalists in that country.
IAPA President Pierre Manigault, president of The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, expressed deep satisfaction at the admission of the Jiménez Mota case by the IACHR. He declared, "We are pleased that the efforts of the IAPA in investigating murders that go without being solved are taken up by the Inter-American System, where it is a guarantee that they will not remain forgotten."
Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, chairman of the IAPA's Impunity Committee and president of the Mexican newspaper El Universal, added, "This is a special case for the IAPA in that Jiménez Mota's disappearance appalled Mexican society and because regrettably it was a further case of impunity and the horror that organized crime has been bringing about in our country since that date."
For his part Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, recalled that since 1997 the IAPA has submitted to the IACHR 29 cases of the unpunished murder of journalists in Bolivia (2), Brazil (11), Colombia (8), Guatemala (2), Mexico (5) and Paraguay (1). Recently the IACHR sent a Colombian case, that of Nelson Carvajal Carvajal, to the Inter-American Human Rights Court.
The Jiménez Mota case motivated the IAPA to hold in Hermosillo in August 2005 a meeting of 40 editors and publishers from Mexico's northern border. In addition to the document titled "Declaration of Hermosillo" containing concrete actions to defend the work of the press the meeting served to create strategies that resulted in legislative actions for the protection of journalists and the battle against impunity.
Among the declaration's proposed actions was the creation of the Fénix Project, named for a group made up of investigative reporters that looked into the Jiménez Mota case. The results of that investigation were published in April 2006 in more than 40 newspapers in Mexico, coinciding with the first anniversary of his disappearance.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.