Mexico approaches 100,000 ‘disappeared’


A year-end report by Mexico’s government registered a figure of 95,000 missing persons nationwide, with an estimated 52,000 unidentified bodies buried in mass graves. The report by the ComisiĂłn Nacional de BĂșsqueda de Personas (National Missing Persons Search Commission) found that the great majority of the disappearances have taken place since 2007, when Mexico began a military crackdown on the drug cartels. Alejandro Encinas, the assistant interior secretary for human rights, said that there are 9,400 unidentified bodies in cold-storage rooms in the country, and pledged to form a National Center for Human Identification tasked with forensic work on these remains. He admitted to a “forensic crisis that has lead to a situation where we don’t have the ability to guarantee the identification of people and return [of remains] to their families.”

More than 4,000 clandestine mass graves have been unearthed around the country. The unmarked graves are popularly known as narco-fosas. Citizens and kin of the missing in many states have formed their own informal search committees, scouring the deserts and brush for remains of their loved ones. (DW, DW, BBC News, Télam)

Women continue to be disproportionately targeted. The Executive Secretary for the National Security System (SESNSP) reports 3,462 women slain in Mexico between January and November last year, a rate of more than 10 per day. Of these cases, 922 were classified as “femicides”—women targeted for their gender. While the overall number of killings of women dropped 0.32% last year compared to the previous, there was a 3.25% rise in the number of femicides. (LAT)

See our last report on the body count in Mexico’s drug war.

Photo via openDemocracy

  1. Sixteen bodies found in Zacatecas

    The bodies of 16 people were found in two different cities in Mexico’s Zacatecas state on Feb. 5. Ten bodies were discovered in Fresnillo, and six were found in General Panfilo Natera, 110 kilometers to the southeast. Violence is escalating in in Zacatecas amid a turf war between the Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation cartels. Ten bodies were found in an SUV in the main square of Zacatecas City on Jan. 6. (Al Jazeera)

  2. UN sees ‘almost total impunity’ in Mexico rights crisis

    A new report from the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances condemned the “almost total impunity” in Mexico that has allowed an epidemic of enforced disappearances. During the committee’s visit to Mexico last November, 112 newly disappeared victims were added to the more than 95,000 people officially registered as missing. The report said that organized criminal groups and corrupt officials were responsible for the disappearances, including of a rising number of children and women. Only 36 cases resulted in a conviction. (TNH, VOA)