Mexico City, August 7, 2020. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) declared admissible the case of the 49 children who died as a result of the fire at the ABC Day Care Center in Hermosillo, Sonora on June 5, 2009, a tragedy that shook the country and is one of the most emblematic cases of the struggle for the protection of children’s rights in Mexico.
For more than 11 years, the children’s families have been engaged in a tireless fight for truth, justice, and non-repetition of events as painful as this one. They have pointed out that the fire at the ABC Day Care Center was not an unforeseeable tragedy, but the result of structural flaws in the system of subrogation of day care centers, since that system turned childcare into a business, causing widespread non-compliance with safety standards at the centers. The families have also demanded the criminal investigation and punishment of all responsible actors, including high-ranking officials and individuals, recognizing the structural causes of the fire.
As part of this fight, in October 2014 the case was presented before the IACHR. On July 6, 2020, this international body declared it admissible. Now the IACHR will examine the merits of the case—that is, it will analyze the facts to determine what human rights violations may have been committed by the government. At this merits stage, the families seek for the IACHR to issue recommendations to the government aimed at achieving access to justice and guarantees of non-repetition.
This Inter-American litigation is a key process to encourage Mexico to take all appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of its children. Necessary actions in this regard include the full and effective implementation at the national level of the June 5th Law—the result of the struggle of the families in the ABC case—and the recognition that the care of children cannot be seen as a business, but rather constitutes an obligation of the State and a right of children and families.