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Mexico[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Mexico maintains a national child welfare agency called the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (“Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia”, also known as DIF).  DIF promotes the rights of children in accordance with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Mexico ratified in 1990, later incorporated in its federal law,[2] and which, as an international treaty, maintains supreme legal status under the Constitution.[3]  DIF's Office of the Procurator for the Defense of Juveniles provides legal representation to children involved in child protective proceedings across the country.

 

Mexico is composed of 31 states and one federal district, each of which has its own Constitution, laws, decrees and regulations.  While state laws governing child protective proceedings may vary slightly by jurisdiction, in general they are modeled on Mexico's national laws; for instance, the local civil codes are virtual replicas of the Federal Civil Code.

 

Federal law grants children the general right to express their opinion in all matters affecting them.[4]  Some jurisdictions have passed laws to explicitly apply this principle to child protective proceedings (including Oaxaca which reformed its Code of Civil Procedure to guarantee the child's right to be heard by a judge in all matters affecting them).[5]  Nevertheless, some advocates claim that the voices of children in child protective proceedings are often not heard.  Moreover, it does not appear that federal law affords children the legal right to representation in child protective proceedings (though offered voluntarily by DIF), nor the right to initiate such proceedings without the assistance of their parents, guardians, or other representatives.[6]

 

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

International Law

 

Convención Sobre los Derechos del Niño[7], ratificada el 19 de junio por el Senado de la República Mexicana [Ver abajo]

 

Artículo 12

1. Los Estados Partes garantizarán al niño que esté en condiciones de formarse un juicio propio el derecho de expresar su opinión libremente en todos los asuntos que afectan al niño, teniéndose debidamente en cuenta las opiniones del niño, en función de la edad y madurez del niño.

2. Con tal fin, se dará en particular al niño oportunidad de ser escuchado, en todo procedimiento judicial o administrativo que afecte al niño, ya sea directamente o por medio de un representante o de un órgano apropiado, en consonancia con las normas de procedimiento de la ley nacional.

 

Statutes

 

Codigo Civil Federal, Artículo 23.[8]

La minoría de edad, el estado de interdicción y demás incapacidades establecidas por la ley, son restricciones a la personalidad jurídica que no deben menoscabar la dignidad de la persona ni atentar contra la integridad de la familia; pero los incapaces pueden ejercitar sus derechos o contraer obligaciones por medio de sus representantes.

 

Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 5.[9]

La Federación, el Distrito Federal, los estados y los municipios, procurarán implementar los mecanismos necesarios para impulsar una cultura de protección de los derechos de la infancia, basada en el contenido de la Convención Sobre los Derechos del Niño y tratados que sobre el tema apruebe el Senado de la República.

 

Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 41.[10]

El derecho a expresar opinión implica que se les tome su parecer respecto de:

A. Los asuntos que los afecten y el contenido de las resoluciones que les conciernen.

B. Que se escuchen y tomen en cuenta sus opiniones y propuestas respecto a los asuntos de su familia o comunidad.

 

Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 48.[11]

Para una mejor defensa y protección de los derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes a nivel nacional, las instituciones que la Federación, el Distrito Federal, los estados y municipios establezcan, en el ámbito de sus respectivas competencias, contarán con el personal capacitado y serán instancias especializadas con funciones de autoridad para la efectiva procuración del respeto de tales derechos.

 

Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 49.[12]

Las instituciones señaladas en el artículo anterior, tendrán las facultades  siguientes:

A. Vigilar la observancia de las garantías constitucionales que salvaguardan los derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes, las 28 disposiciones contenidas en los tratados internacionales suscritos por nuestro país en los términos del artículo 133 Constitucional y las previstas en la legislación aplicable.

B. Representar legalmente los intereses de niñas, niños y adolescentes ante las autoridades judiciales o administrativas, sin contravenir las disposiciones legales aplicables.

 

 

Translation[13]

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [14] ratified June 19, 1990 by the Senate of the Mexican Republic [See below]

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Statutes

 

Federal Civil Code, Article 23.

Minors, the state of prohibition, and all others incapacities established by law are restrictions to the judicial personality that shall not diminish the dignity of the person or threaten the integrity of the family; yet those incapacitated may exercise their rights or acquire obligations through their representatives.

 

Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 5.

The Federation, the Federal District, the states and the municipalities, shall implement the mechanisms necessary to impel a culture that protects the rights of children, based in the substance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and treated based on topics approved by the Senate of the Republic.

 

Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 41.

The right to express one's opinion means that their opinions shall be taken with respect to:

A. The matters that affect them, and the substance of the resolutions that concern them.

B. That they are listened to and that their opinions and proposals are considered in the matters of family and community. 

 

Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 48.

For a better defense and protection of the rights of boys, girls, and adolescents at the national level, the institutions that the Federation, the Federal District, the states and municipalities establish, in the scope of their respective competencies, shall include with the personal capacity, and shall have specialized instances with functions of authority for the effective procurement of the respect of such rights.

 

Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 49.

The institutions designated in the previous article shall have the following faculties:

A. Watch over the observance of the constitutional guarantees that safeguard the rights of girls, boys, and adolescents, the 28 dispositions contained in the international treaties subscribed to by this country in the terms of article 133 of the Constitution, and in applicable legislation. 

B.  Legally represent the interests of girls, boys, and adolescents before the judicial or administrative authorities without contravening the applicable legal dispositions.

 

 

Local Contact Information

 

Dilcya García

UNICEF México
Pase de la Reforma 645
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
México, D.F. 11000
México

Tel. 5202-3233
Fax 5520-0527

Website: www.unicef.org/mexico/

 

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

http://www.mexlaw.com/

 

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 5 [Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 5] available as .pdf Document.

[3] See Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, Article 133 which states:

“This Constitution, the laws of the Congress of the Union that emanate there from, and all treaties that have been made and shall be made in accordance therewith by the President of the Republic, with the approval of the Senate, shall be the supreme law of the whole Union. The judges of each State shall conform to the said Constitution, the laws, and treaties, in spite of any contradictory provisions that may appear in the constitutions or laws of the States.” Available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 41 [Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 41] available as .pdf Document.

[5] As reported in Mexico's State Party Report to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1999, available mex_rpt_crc_1999.

[6] Codigo Civil Federal, Artículo 23 (Federal Civil Code, Article 23) available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989).

[8] Codigo Civil Federal, Artículo 23 (Federal Civil Code, Article 23) available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] Ley para la Protección de los Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Artículo 5 [Law for the Protection of the Rights of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents, Article 5] available as .pdf Document.

[10] Id., Article/Artículo 41.

[11] Id., Article/Artículo 48.

[12] Id., Article/Artículo 49.

[13] All translations are unofficial.

[14] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989).

 

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