Thursday 21 February 2013

Mexican government acknowledges list of over 27,000 citizens “missing” in the war on drugs

Lía Limón
Coming off the heels of a damning report from Human Rights Watch that listed 249 cases of people having been “disappeared” in Mexico, and that demanded Mexico establish a “comprehensive, accurate national databases of the disappeared and or unidentified,” the government has confirmed that it has an unofficial list of over 27, 000 people who have gone missing during the country’s six year war on drugs.

Lía Limón, from the Interior Ministry’s Secretariat for Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Asuntos Jurídicos y Derechos Humanos), said that the Mexican government has a database, and that it is working to release it shortly.  

The database includes genetic information on the missing persons and/or family members. This will ideally allow for the cross-referencing of genetic information in order to speed up the identification process when bodies are found.

Shortly after the comments by Lía Limón, the Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, confirmed the existence of the database, which remains “unofficial”, and said that the government was working in cooperation with the Red Cross for final preparation of the list which, as of November, 2012, numbered over 27,000 people.

Some concerns raised by Osorio Chong were privacy issues, though he acknowledged the immense suffering of families who do not know what has become of their loved ones.

It is believed that a small minority of the missing are adults that simply don’t want to be found, and that the vast majority have been killed in the drug war. If the numbers are accurate, and given that about 70,000 people have been killed in the last six years, then Mexico is on track to record 100,000 civilians dead in the ongoing conflict.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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