Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Sede de Tapachula
The Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) constitutes the primary link between nongovernmental social organizations and the Mexican government when individuals or communities want to denounce rights violations committed by federal authorities. The main work of the CNDH involves researching and taking testimony on human rights crimes perpetrated by the Mexican state and publishing formal, public recommendations and condemnations to legal authorities. The CNDH does not prosecute these crimes itself, acting mainly as an official witness for other legal groups. However, its recognition by the United Nations and other international bodies lends increased significance to its role as a witness. Though the CNDH operates autonomously from the federal government, its funding and the appointment of its main council are both under the control of the Mexican Congress.
The Tapachula office belongs to the “Quinta Visitaduría,” which is a special commission that is present in places where human trafficking and violations against journalists and activists are common. Activists and nongovernmental human rights groups tend to have mixed opinions about the efficacy of the CDNH: some believe it ultimately effects little change and think it makes things more difficult and bureaucratic for those denouncing violations, while others value its symbolic value and the concrete accomplishments it’s been able to achieve. In 2006, the group was the subject of an international controversy when it worked with the US group Humane Borders to publish maps intended to help migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.
Interview with a representative from Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Sede de Tapachula