UN Calls Impunity in Mexico’s Disappearances ‘Almost Complete’

Photo: Open Democracy


After concluding a 13-day investigation into Mexico’s appalling record of disappeared persons — which number more than 95,000 according to government figures — the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) said Friday, Nov. 26, that there is “almost absolute impunity” for those responsible.

“As of Friday, more than 95,000 people have been officially registered as disappeared in Mexico,” the CED said in a statement at the end of its first-ever in-country investigation of the crime.

“That includes a worrying increase in the number of women and children, a trend that has worsened during the pandemic, with migrants particularly at risk. ”

In its statement, the four-member UN committee urged Mexican authorities to take immediate action to locate, identify and investigate all cases of unexplained missing persons, adding that just during the course of its two-week fact-finding mission, more than 100 additional people disappeared in Mexico.

The delegation visited 13 Mexican states and held 48 meetings with more than 80 different authorities. Members also met victims’ families and civil society organizations from almost every corner of the country.

Its members witnessed exhumations and search expeditions in the states of Morelos, Coahuila and the State of Mexico (EdoMéx), and several migrant detention centers.

“We acknowledge that some legal and institutional progress has been made in recent years, but enforced disappearances are still widespread and impunity is almost absolute,” the statement said.

The statement also pointed to “scenarios of collusion between state agents and organized crime groups,” with some enforced disappearances “committed directly by state agents.”

Additionally, the committee noted with concern that several of the recommendations made by the United Nation in 2015 and 2018, are still pending implementation.

“In this sense, we stress that disappearances are not only a phenomenon of the past, but still persist,” the statement said.

The committee likewise concluded that in their search for answers and justice, the families of disappeared persons frequently confront “indifference and a lack of progress.”

The CED statement concluded that the root causes of the problem in Mexico have not been addressed and that the adopted security approach is “not only insufficient, but also inadequate.”

During the first three years of presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) alone, Mexico has registered nearly 25,000 disappeared persons.

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