At Least 28,000 People Have Disappeared During Mexico’s Drug War

Ramsha Sadiq Khan
While families of the missing people fear repercussions, the government is reluctant to address the human rights violation altogether.

Mexico’s Drug War

The world only took note of Mexico’s human rights crisis after 43 students and teachers went missing in the southern state of Guerrero in 2014. The tragic incident not only drew attention of international observers, but also lifted the lid on the largely ignored crisis unfolding in the Central American country.

At least 28,161 people have gone missing in Mexico in since 2006 when the country began its war on drugs, according to the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights. Their recently released report also suggests that the government does not even have a national search system for the disappeared.

The analysis, published on Friday, drew comparisons with Argentina’s Dirty War (an infamous crusade against suspected left-wing political opponents in Argentina) and other similar campaigns of state repression in Latin America during the Cold War period. Unlike those disappearances, people in the Missing or Disappeared People National Registry are not tied to any Leftist activism — most of them were civilians.

“Today, people without social or political activism are victims of enforced disappearance,” the commission said in a statement. “The causes and reasons are not clear, and no authority has been able to explain beyond speeches denying it or stigmatizing the victims.”

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What makes the entire situation even more disturbing is the fact that the government is reluctant to investigate the matter and the families of those who are missing are afraid to take a stand over fears of repercussions.

Since 2006, a number of human rights groups, including the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, have proposed a variety of ways to address the issue and look into the disappearances, but the government does not seem to have adopted any of these recommendations.

“We are convinced that Mexico should implement a policy of transitional justice of facts that violate human rights, as well as national system for tracing missing persons, like victims demand,” the analysis read.

It’s truly a messed up situation that has somehow become a “normal” for those living in Mexico.

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