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Mexico: Dark landmark of 100,000 disappearances reflects pattern of impunity, UN experts warn

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Mexico
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OHCHR
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GENEVA (17 May 2022) – The 100,000 officially registered disappearances in Mexico illustrate a long-standing pattern of impunity in the country, indicating the tragedy continues daily, UN human rights experts warned.

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) today expressed grave concern about the growing numbers registered by Mexico's National Register of Disappeared Persons. They issued the following joint statement:

“More than 100,000 disappeared people officially registered in Mexico is a heart-breaking tragedy. The figure speaks for itself and is an unmistakable warning.

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances are deeply concerned about this dire situation. We also note that, in many cases, disappearances go unreported, and thus the scale of this tragedy may even go beyond what is currently registered.

Both the Committee and the Working Group have visited Mexico to examine enforced disappearances in the country.

As the Committee highlighted in its report following its visit to Mexico in November 2021, ‘Enforced disappearance in Mexico is a problem for everyone, the entire society, and all humanity as a whole. ’ These 100,000 people registered as disappeared are not the only victims: their families and relatives also suffer. All are victims.

It is with profound pain that we heard the confirmed registration number today. Despite all the efforts made by the victims, their relatives, supporting organisations, as well as by some of the State authorities, enforced disappearances continue to occur daily in Mexico, reflecting a chronic pattern of impunity.

When the Working Group visited Mexico in 2011, official figures showed more than 5,000 persons reported as "disappeared" or "absent" in that year. As of 26 November 2021, the last day of the CED visit to Mexico, 95,000 people were officially registered as disappeared. Out of these, more than 100 disappearances allegedly took place during the Committee’s 16-day visit.

Ten years after the adoption of the Working Group's report and subsequent follow-up report, and a few weeks after the adoption of the Committee's visit report, the two specialised mechanisms of the United Nations join to highlight the urgency to prevent and eradicate disappearances and to combat the almost total impunity that persists for this scourge.

We reiterate our full solidarity with the victims, relatives and support groups. We urge Mexico to implement the recommendations contained in our respective reports to comply with its international obligations and give priority attention to the demands of the tens of thousands of family members and friends of disappeared persons in the country.”

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Geneva: Vivian Kwok at +41 (0) 22 917 9362 / vivian.kwok@un.org
Mexico City: Tania Garcia Galvan at +52 5550616374 / tania.garciagalvan@un.org

Background

The International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance is the first universally legally binding human rights instrument concerning enforced disappearance. It spells out in detail States parties’ obligations vis-à-vis this crime, as well as the corresponding victims’ fundamental rights. The Committee on Enforced Disappearances is made up of 10 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity. Through its daily work on the situation of enforced disappearances in the countries that have ratified the Convention and on individual cases (individual complaints and Urgent Actions), the Committee monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention.

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was established by the then UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of persons who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. It also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world.