More than 100,000 people are reported missing in Mexico. Every day, over 25 men, women, and minors are added to this number. The number 100, 000 does not include those not reported missing, or those individuals who are found dead. Most of the missing people are murder victims by Mexican drug gangs; often, these victims do not adhere to the gang’s rules, or are witnesses to crimes committed by the gang. The Mexican Government is failing to find the truth behind the disappearances and is far away from achieving justice for the missing people and their families.
Following a visit to Mexico in November 2021, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances stated, “In the face of this reality, the root causes of disappearances have not been addressed. The security approach that has been adopted is not only insufficient but also inadequate. In this context, the fight against impunity cannot wait.”
Families of missing people are performing their own investigations, which can often be time-consuming, difficult, and dangerous. The Mexican Government’s first step should be to guarantee the safety of the families and searchers looking for missing persons. However, there is an overall lack of action from the Mexican Government to find the truth and seek justice for the missing and murdered. The absence of 100, 000 individuals will continue to make a devastating impact on Mexican society and will continue to grow and take the lives of innocent people, if significant action is not taken soon. The Mexican authorities should recognize and investigate the crimes immediately and punish those responsible. Additionally, authorities should put more effort into prevention by performing research into groups at heightened risk, such as women, children, and migrants, and seek the best solutions to protect them.
In 2006, president Felipe Calderón announced a drug war and posted military personnel in regions ravaged by drug cartels, with the aim of restoring state authority. However, the reverse has happened. According to the International Crisis Group, 15 years ago there were a few dozen illegal armed groups, and now there are around 200. Previously, it was mostly middle-aged men who were missing, however, now these numbers include women and children. Gangs are also murdering witnesses and civilians who are not adhering to the gangs’ rules. In addition to the 100, 000 missing persons, there are also 52, 000 unidentified corpses at forensic centers, whose bodies are decapitated by gangs to thwart investigations as much as possible.
More than 100, 000 people missing makes a devastating impact on Mexican society, and for the sake of the missing persons and their families, Mexican authorities should make justice their utmost priority.