United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

According to the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons, more than 100,000 persons have been reported missing and left unfound since the organization started keeping records in the 1960s, with most of the disappearances concentrated in states known for a strong presence of organized crime, like Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz, as well as highly-populated regions like the State of Mexico (Edoméx) and Nuevo León.

Though the record-keeping began in the 1960s, the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons accumulated 83.5 percent of its missing persons cases since 2006, when former Mexican President Felipe Calderón began his so-called “War on Drugs.” Throughout the first three years of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) term, the number has risen by 31,520 disappearances.

Of the 100,000 missing persons in Mexico, only 35 of these cases have resulted in the convictions of the criminals responsible – a dismal .03 percent conviction rate, showing Mexico’s widespread impunity across the issue and leaving their friends and families  without any tangible answers or justice served.

As a result of these harrowing statistics, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet requested for the Mexican federal government to double their efforts to find truth and justice for these 100,000 missing victims and their uncertain fates.

“The scourge of disappearances is a human tragedy of enormous proportions,” said Bachelet. “No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary dimension, as well as to vindicate the victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.”

While Mexico has recently implemented the General Law on Disappearances, created the National Center for Human Identification, and developed search commissions across all Mexican states, the issue still persists, with Bachelet revealing that the families of these victims have long been acting as the main champions in the quest for answers.

“During my visit to Mexico in 2019, I was able to learn firsthand about the courage of the victims’ families, who have been key actors in organizing and proposing solutions, and achieving legal and institutional advances aimed at recognizing the magnitude of this problem in Mexico,” said Bachelet.

Considering Mexico, in a historic move, became the first country in the world to allow the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) to enter the country and meet with government officials, families of the disappeared, and victims’ organizations in November 2021, it seems as if a foundation for combating the missing persons problem is on the way to being set as Mexico begins accepting international intervention into the issue.

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