Missing people, an unpaid debt

The wave of violence unleashed during the previous administration brought with it more homicides, kidnappings, and missing people

Missing people, an unpaid debt
Illustration by Rosario Lucas/EL UNIVERSAL
English 30/11/2017 08:52 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 13:30
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Someone can leave early in the morning to go to work, or late in the afternoon to meet some friends and never come back home. Parents, children, spouses, and siblings will go to hospitals, call emergency services, call the police to make a report, leave no stone unturned trying to find their missing loved one but their efforts will be fruitless. They will never hear from them again. And they will be alone in their helplessness because authorities will not support them.

The wave of violence unleashed during the previous administration brought with it more homicides, kidnappings, and missing people. Pressure from civil groups encouraged amendments to the Constitution to set forth the rights of the victims.

This phenomenon has reached such magnitude that a few days ago the General Law on Enforced Disappearances was finally passed – after a year and a half of being delayed. With this new Act, any crime committed related to enforced disappearances will be officially prosecuted and will not expire until the missing person is found.

It's believed that in a single decade more than 30,000 people have gone missing...and there's been no news about them – either good or bad.

Civil groups and women collectives have heard rumors about lots and stretches of land where maybe massive graves can be found. With a few tools and, sometimes with their bare hands, they have excavated the ground. Any result obtained is a mix of hope and pain – finding something or nothing at all.

During an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the head of the Executive Commission for the Attention to Victims, Jaime Rochín, acknowledges that given the number of cases, a disappearance is no longer news, reason why he believes it's a priority to make this problem visible with all its harshness, so we can raise awareness not only in the State but also in the general population.

Is the State truly behind all this, like dozens of groups who have experienced a disappearance in the flesh claim? Maybe the State is not the direct culprit but its aloof attitude towards the case, its slowness and many omissions in serving justice, are certainly transforming it an accomplice.

We have a debt with the thousands of families which is just beginning to be settled. They've proved that together and organized they can get a response from the State and legal amendments. The structures are being created, we just have to strengthen them and allows them freedom to act.


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