Since 1995 over 9,000 children in Mexico have disappeared, the country’s public defender Luis Raul Gonzalez announced Wednesday during the 3rd National Conference on the Rights of Children and Adolescents. Almost 5,000 disappeared during the 6-year government of Enrique Peña Nieto.
Sandra Mejia, of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico (Redim), said that of every four cases of disappearances involving children, three occurred during Peña Nieto’s administration. She also said Redim recorded 4,677 minors who are still missing, of which 2,840 are girls. “The numbers on disappearances are alarming,” Mejia lamented.
Gonzalez explained forced disappearances are the most extreme form of violence against children because it exposes the victims to abuse and even the loss of life. He also called on the government to tackle the issue “seriously” and work to address the indifference of public servants who deal with these cases and to improve the infrastructure of investigative capabilities.
“It is unacceptable that the pain and suffering caused by uncertainty are met with attitudes of indifference by public servants,” Gonzalez stressed.
Juan Martin Perez, executive director of Redim said “we are concerned that this continues to be an invisible topic, absent in the public agenda. … In any other country, this would be an international scandal, not in Mexico. In Mexico it goes unnoticed.”
Several of the people who participated in the conference agreed the greatest problem is the “culture of impunity” prevalent in Mexico.
Jan Jarab, United Nations representative in Mexico for the High Commissioner on Human Rights, explained this phenomenon occurs in a “context of generalized violence, a context of migration, (and) transit. That exposes children and adolescents, whether they are accompanied or not, to the risk of disappearances, trafficking, and violence. … In a context of extremely violent security policies with no accountability.”