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SIPINNA to DIF: the degradation of children’s rights

Fernando Alcázar Ibarra, Director of Judicialization of Mexicanos Primero. @feralc23

On April 18, the President of the Republic sent to the Chamber of Deputies an initiative to reform various laws and provisions with the aim of achieving an “organic simplification” in various dependencies of the Federal Public Administration (APF). The initiative contemplates the transfer, modification or elimination of a total of 18 bodies, including the Executive Secretariat of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents (SIPINNA). In summary, it is proposed that the Executive Secretariat go from being a decentralized body of the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) to an administrative unit of the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF). From civil society, various organizations have opposed the approval of this amendment to the General Law on the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents (LGDNNA) considering that it is an attack on the rights of nearly 30 million of girls, boys and adolescents (NNA) of our country. But what exactly is SIPINNA and what does its Executive Secretariat do?

The SIPINNA is the body in charge of coordinating and establishing all the instruments, policies, procedures, services and actions to protect the rights of children and adolescents. The SIPINNA is chaired by the President of the Republic and is made up of the heads of SEGOB; External relationships; Tax authorities; Welfare; Public education; Job; the Attorney General of the Republic; the CNDH; the IFT; Governors of the Federative Entities; and the DIF itself. Additionally, civil society organizations have representatives that are part of it. As can be seen, it is an institutional effort that seeks to ensure the rights and best interests of children and adolescents, articulating in a transversal manner the aforementioned State Secretariats and the APF in general. To achieve its executive operation, SIPINNA has an Executive Secretary whose powers include coordination of actions in the APF derived from the LGDNNA; the elaboration and follow-up of the National Program for the Protection of NNA; and support in the execution and follow-up of the SIPINNA agreements.

The main argument of the Federal Government to send this Executive Secretariat to the DIF is an apparent duplication of functions that generates inefficiency and superfluous spending. Not only is this duplicity non-existent, but instead it sends the wrong political message and violates the rights of children and adolescents. The Executive Secretariat of SIPINNA has known how to do a lot with very little; only for this year its budget is just under 80 million pesos. Although it is true that the organic transformation of the Executive Secretariat by itself does not imply a risk for the protection of the rights of children and adolescents, since its powers remain the same, it does represent a loss of management autonomy that in practice could limit it. In addition, the importance of the Executive Secretariat being part of SEGOB has everything to do with the importance that should be given to the issue from the Secretariat that deals with all political issues of national interest.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it will be necessary to be very aware of the issue of financing a possible Executive Secretary assigned to the DIF. Although your budget would be guaranteed by compensation for this year, 2024 may be a completely different story. Especially, taking into account that the DIF has its budget in the Multiple Contributions Fund, which, despite being a large pool of resources, can result in a diffusion of the resources that may fall to the Executive Secretariat, since they would no longer be labeled.

The initiative is still pending ruling in commissions and does not seem to be part of the avalanche of legislative changes that will close during this period of sessions in Congress. Even so, we will continue to be attentive and raise our voices against the political and budgetary degradation of the rights of children and adolescents.

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