Enforced disappearance, Mexico's worst tragedy

Enforced disappearance became part of the official discourse as a result of the pressure that society exerted on the government and after events such as Ayotzinapa

Enforced disappearance, Mexico's worst tragedy
People demand justice for 43 missing students in Mexico - Photo: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS
English 05/02/2019 09:18 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:18
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The topic of missing persons became part of the official discourse as a result of the pressure that society exerted on the government and after events such as Ayotzinapa, or the discovery of mass graves all over Mexico, with hundreds of bodies inside them.

The pain of thousands of families whose loved one are missing has morphed into a demand towards the federal government so that it solves the problem. In November 2017, the General Law in Regards to Enforced Disappearance was published but it wasn't effective. Last year, the government allocated MXN $468 million for the search of missing persons, but only MXN $6 million were exercised.

On Monday, Mexico's government put the National Strategy for the Search of Missing Persons in motion, along with the creation of the National Institute of Forensic Identification, an institute that looks to systematize the information of missing persons by comparing their DNA to their family's. The strategy is trying to respond to a tragedy of great magnitude, as official information reveals there are around 40,000 people missing, 26,000 unidentified bodies, and over 1,100 clandestine mass graves.

There are other numbers that shed light on the identity of those missing: the largest number are young people between 17 and 29 years, and up to 10% of those missing are Central American migrants.

The measures announced are part of a  federal strategy, but on the state level, the local governments need to be sensible and adopt similar actions. The law on this issue establishes that the states should have Local Search Commissions, an obligation that hasn't been fulfilled, as one year after the law was issued, only a dozen states have created said commissions.

Until now, indolence and negligence had reigned in the government, in the face of an issue that involves dozens of thousands of people who have gone missing and whose destiny can't be ignored. Citizen groups have had to rescue bodies in locations where they have been informed there could be mass graves, with little or no support from authorities.

No one can go missing without a trace, especially when thousands of persons are missing. Mexican authorities had abandoned the security and the protection of citizens. There seems to be a new glimmer of hope for those who demand justice for their loved who is missing. We hope this is the case.


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