Mexico: Reactions after exceeding 100,000 disappearances since 1964

Mexico: Reactions after exceeding 100,000 disappearances since 1964

The number of people missing in Mexico has risen to more than 100,000 since Monday, 1964, according to official Interior Ministry statistics, a milestone that has provoked reactions from the United Nations and the Red Cross.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed “deep sorrow” over the problem and “his solidarity with the families of the victims who hope to find their loved ones”, according to a press release issued by his spokesman Stefan Duzarric.

According to the National Register of Missing Persons, 100,099 people were declared missing from March 15, 1964 until the day before yesterday, May 16, 2022. About 75% were men.

The number of disappearances in Mexico has been on the rise since 2006when the then government declared the much-controversial “war on drugs”, deploying the army inside the country to crack down on cartels.

“Disappearances in Mexico are a problem for everyone: society as a whole and humanity,” was the Commission’s response to the UN Enforced Disappearances.

A recent report by the Commission undermined the “worrying upward trend” in kidnappings fueled by “absolute impunity” following a step-by-step visit to Mexico in November.

This United Nations Commission considers The main culprit for the phenomenon is organized crime, however, also points out the neglect of the problem by the authorities. The government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has demanded that “immediate action” be taken to rectify the situation.

Authorities “should make every effort to put an end to these widespread human rights abuses,” said Michelle Bachelet, head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Early hours”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that exceeding the limit of 100,000 disappearances underlines “the need to strengthen the search mechanisms”.

“The first hours” after any disappearance “are the most important,” said Marlene Herbig, head of the Red Cross program for missing persons and their families in Mexico. “When someone disappears, their family has a right to know what happened to them. “Learning the fate of a missing person is primarily a humanitarian affair.”

THE lack of required staff in law enforcement so that thorough investigations into the disappearances can be conducted leads families, often mothers, to come together to search for their own, especially in secret mass graves.

“If the authorities had done their job, there would not have been so many missing,” Cecilia Flores, head of the Madres Buscadoras (Mothers in Search) collective in the northern state of Sonora, told AFP.

“For them, the man who disappears is one less criminal, one more statistic,” added Flores, who is looking for her two sons, Alejandro and Marco Antonio.

According to the Mexican government, There are more than 37,000 unidentified bodies in the country’s morgues. NGOs estimate that number is actually 52,000.

Authorities are seeking to establish a database on the missing. However, many corpses are buried unrecognized, due to the saturation of the morgues.

The first disappearances in the country go back to “Dirty war” against revolutionary movements, the period 1960-1980.

Mexico has recorded at least 340,000 homicides – most of them victims of organized crime gangs – since 2006.

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