More than 100,000 people are now listed as missing in violence-wracked Mexico, a grim milestone that the United Nations rights chief called “a tragedy of enormous proportions.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross also appealed for urgent action to tackle disappearances that have skyrocketed during years of spiralling drug-related violence.
The National Registry of Missing Persons, which has been tracking disappearances since 1964, said that as of Monday the whereabouts of 100,012 people were unknown. About 75 percent are men.
The first reported disappearances in Mexico date back to the authorities’ so-called “dirty war” against leftist movements from the 1960s to 1980s.
Mexico has also registered over 340,000 deaths — mostly attributed to organised crime groups — since 2006, when a major anti-drug military offensive was launched.
The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances described the situation as “heart-breaking.”
Enforced disappearances are a daily occurrence in Mexico, “reflecting a chronic pattern of impunity,” they added.
The UN committee, which is made up of independent experts, warned in April that Mexico was facing an “alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the disappearances represented a “human tragedy of enormous proportions.”
“No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary breadth, and to vindicate victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition,” she added.
Only 35 of the disappearances recorded have led to convictions — a “staggering rate of impunity” that is “mostly attributable to the lack of effective investigations,” Bachelet’s office said.