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News > Latin America

Disappearances Still Rising in Mexico 2 Years After Ayotzinapa

  • A woman takes part in a march against Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto’s annual report to Congress, Mexico City, Sept. 1, 2016.

    A woman takes part in a march against Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto’s annual report to Congress, Mexico City, Sept. 1, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 September 2016

According to the latest statistics, 5,201 more people have been reported missing in Mexico compared to October 2014.

The crisis of disappearance in Mexico has continued unabated this year, with a total of 28,472 people now reported missing in the country, up by more than 5,000 compared to two years ago, according to the latest available statistics reported Wednesday by La Jornada.

'It Was the State': Unmasking the Official Ayotzinapa Narrative

The number is also 585 missing people more than the figure recorded as of Dec. 31, 2015. According to data delivered to Congress last week as part of the annual report from the Ministry of the Interior’s National Registry of Data on Missing or Disappeared Persons, at the end of last year a total of 27,887 people were missing—26,898 registered in civil courts and 989 at the federal level, according to local media.

The staggering statistics underline the human rights crisis in Mexico and the failure of government and state governments to address security concerns and carry out effective investigations into reports of missing people.

The data, collected by the Ministry of the Interior’s National Security System, shows that the Gulf coast and U.S. border state of Tamaupilas suffer the most disappearances across the country, with a total of 5,560 missing in the state of in the state of 3.4 million people.

After Tamaulipas, the states of Mexico, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, and Sinaloa also all have more than 2,000 reported missing, and Chihuahua and Coahuila more than 1,500 each.

Human rights organizations have urged authorities to recognize the extent of the crisis and take urgent steps to design a national commission to spearhead the search and investigation into the disappearances, La Jornada reported.

Criminalizing the Victims: The Latest Anti-Ayotzinapa Strategy

Earlier this year, family members of victims of forced disappearances and social organizations created the National Search Brigade to take the matter of looking for their missing relatives into their own hands. The brigade, made up of representatives from different states, launched their first mission in the state of Veracruz, where dozens of mass graves have recently been discovered.

The latest statistics come ahead of the two-year anniversary of the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa teacher trainees in Iguala, Guerrero. The case has become a hallmark of the crisis of forced disappearance and government corruption in Mexico and attracted widespread international attention.

Prior to being forced off the case, independent experts from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights released a report earlier this year arguing that the Ayotzinapa case is “emblematic” of the state collusion with organized crime. The report also indicated that the case highlights “grave deficiencies,” including rampant structural impunity and other problems, in investigations into reports of missing persons.

Human rights defenders have stressed that, as a symbolic case, justice for Ayotzinapa is key in the broader fight against systemic violence, forced disappearances, and impunity in Mexico.

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