Mexican Undersecretary of the Interior (SeGob) for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez. Photo:


At least 40,000 people in Mexico have vanished without a trace in the last 20 years, according to Undersecretary of the Interior (SeGob) for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez.

“We estimate that there are currently about 40,000 disappeared persons in Mexico, more than 1,100 clandestine graves and 26,000 unidentified corpses in the nation’s morgues,” Encinas Rodríguez said during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) regular early morning press conference on Monday, Feb. 4, during which an 11-point National Strategy for the Search for Missing Persons (ENBPD) was announced.

“The number of missing and forcefully disappeared persons – either by government agents or individuals – is perhaps one of the most ominous signals of what we have inherited from the previous (presidential) regime.”

As hundreds of family members of missing persons gathered outside the National Palace to protest the lack of resolution to their cases, Encinas Rodríguez went on to say that the high numbers of unsolved disappearances and murders in Mexico are a bellwether of the “magnitude of the humanitarian crisis and violation of human rights” that the AMLO administration is now facing.

Most of the disappeared were of unemployed and/or disadvantaged youths between the ages 17 and 29, and between 8 and10 percent were migrants, especially from Central America, Encinas Rodríguez said.

And as of last year, the number of vanished minors increased significantly, he added.

Last year, under the administration of previous Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, there was a budget of 468 million pesos to help solve missing persons cases, but only 6 million pesos were used for that objective, Encinas Rodríguez said.

This year, 400 million pesos have been earmarked for the National Search System, a new multiagency entity aimed at helping to solve missing person cases.

“There has, admittedly, been progress in the legislation of laws,” he said, “but, unfortunately, there have been serious lapses in their implementation and even dissimilation.”

The new EMBPD, Encinas Rodríguez said, represents a significant step forward in helping to resolve these cases of missing persons.

The program entails the implementation of extensive searches, investigations and prosecutions of guilty parties, he said.

At the start of his six-year term, President López Obrador established a special commission to investigate the case of 43 missing secondary school students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014.


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