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.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 16 MAY 2016

Mexico's Attorney General's Office is seeking to bring new charges against soldiers implicated in the June 2014 massacre of almost…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 29 APR 2011

More than 70 percent of all federal arrests in Mexico never reach trial, highlighting deficiencies in the justice…

MEXICO / 31 AUG 2012

Analyst Alejandro Hope cautions that until better statistics are available, the recent wave of brutal attacks across Mexico shouldn't be…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…