HomeNewsBriefReport Highlights Rampant Impunity in Mexico Forced Disappearances
BRIEF

Report Highlights Rampant Impunity in Mexico Forced Disappearances

MEXICO / 3 SEP 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Only one percent of forced disappearances in Mexico have been investigated by authorities, a miniscule figure that underscores the widespread impunity and lack of political will that have left thousands of cases unresolved.

According to government figures, 29,707 cases of forced disappearances were reported between January 2006 and July 2014, according to a new series by Animal Politico. Of these individuals, 17,175 have been found and over 12,500 are still missing. In total, Mexican authorities have only initiated preliminary investigations in 291 of these cases, and have failed to sentence a single person for participating in a forced disappearance since 2006.

In an interview with Animal Politico, Ariel Dulitzky — the former head of the United Nations body that deals with disappearances in Mexico (WGEID) — stated that systematic impunity was a major factor contributing to the high prevalence of forced disappearances. Dulitzky also identified a lack of investigation, a lack of transparency or clarity in the government’s database, and inadequate search protocols as factors that have exacerbated the problem.

InSight Crime Analysis

The high number of forced disappearances in Mexico is often linked to organized crime, and in some cases the disappeared themselves may have criminal connections. According to 2013 statistics from the Interior Ministry’s human rights ombudsman, of the 26,121 people registered as disappeared under former President Felipe Calderon, 20,915 had themselves faced preliminary investigations.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

However, simply saying the victims were themselves guilty is a government tactic that not only indiscriminately criminalizes victims and excuses state inaction, it also covers up something far more troublesome — the involvement of the state in many cases.

In a Human Rights Watch report released around the same time as the Interior Ministry’s figures, the organization documented 20 cases of forced disappearances perpetrated by Mexico’s navy. Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) later reported that accusations had been filed against Mexican officials for 20 forced disappearances in the first five months of 2013. In addition, the involvement or complicity of the state was highlighted in the investigations of the WGEID in 2011, and in several cases cited in Animal Politico’s investigation.

Whoever the perpetrators behind forced disappearances are, the fact that so few are even investigated — never mind prosecuted — means the crime will likely remain a fixture of Mexico’s security problems for a long time to come.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 31 MAY 2011

The UN high commissioner for human rights warned that the situation of migrants passing through Mexico is a matter of…

MEXICO / 13 SEP 2012

Police in Mexico have arrested the leader and founder of a violent drug gang known as the Resistencia, one of…

MEXICO / 31 AUG 2012

A leaked report in Mexico affirms that the US officials attacked by Mexican Federal Police last week were CIA agents,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…