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  • Mexico has more than  40,000 disappeared, 26,000 unidentified bodies and tens of thousands of bone remains.

    Mexico has more than  40,000 disappeared, 26,000 unidentified bodies and tens of thousands of bone remains. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 August 2019

"I fear that the day the 43 are found, the many other cases will be forgotten," said the former member of the United Nations.

Mexico should be investigating all the disappeared and not focus only on the case of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students who went missing in 2014, said Rainer Huhle, a former member of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).

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"I fear that the day the 43 are found, the many other cases will be forgotten," Huhle said during a conference held in Mexico City Thursday.

The former rapporteur on the Mexican case said he felt "concern to notice that the whole energy is focused to search for graves, while very little attention is given to look for people who are still disappearing today.”

“Families of missing persons are now helpless as they are considered 'isolated' cases,” said Huhle before criticizing the government of ex-President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). The administation was also twice evaluated by the CED in Geneva.

The CED is a body constituted of independent experts that monitor the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The former U.N. official recalled the government’s uncooperative and “clearly defensive” attitude.

To eradicate disappearances, Huhle called for comprehensive reforms of the justice system, the prosecutor's office and the institutions of investigation.

While sharing harsh words for the Committee of which he was part of, given that the body "did not really have Mexico as a priority on its agenda" and on several occasions has refused to visit the country.

Huhle did not fail to criticize the "lack of transparency" in the processes of election of the Committees’ experts. The latter are chosen by the governments, a practice that “opens up the way to arbitrariness and political interests.”

Mexico has more than  40,000 disappeared, 26,000 unidentified bodies and tens of thousands of bone remains, according to official estimates released in February.

The drama of the disappeared began in Mexico during the period of the Dirty War in the 1960’s when the State started to persecute people, especially left-wing students, and guerrilla groups. 

The war against drug trafficking then worsened the situation, and between 2006 and 2017, 1,606 clandestine graves were reported in the country, from which some 2,500 bodies and 600 human remains were exhumed.

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