Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Report Highlights “Disappearances” in Mexico

Around 250 people are believed to have disappeared in Mexico during the administration of former President Felipe Calderón according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The HRW report, which was released on Wednesday, found that 149 people between December 2006 and December 2012 were victims of “enforced disappearances” committed by “all branches of the security forces”.  Furthermore, the report noted how in more than sixty cases evidence was uncovered linking “state agents” with criminal groups such as drug gangs to organize disappearances and extort money from the families of victims.

HRW explained that they uncovered evidence in an apparent disappearance case showing how police in a Nuevo León town “arbitrarily detained” nineteen construction workers in 2011 and gave them to an organized crime group. 

The human rights group believes that there is “little doubt” that there are unofficially  “thousands” more cases of disappearances in Mexico.  An Interior Ministry official confirmed this hours after the HRW report was published when she admitted that there are over 27,000 disappearance cases in Mexico.

None of the 249 cases investigated by HRW have led to a conviction in a court of law.  “All too often, (prosecutors and law enforcement officials) blame the victims and tell families it is their responsibility to investigate,” according to the report.

Days after coming to office last December 1st, current President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the creation of a new national police force which he said would be better trained and equipped to fight crime.  Nevertheless, one senior HRW official also observed how current President Enrique Peña Nieto must take more decisive action:

“President Peña Nieto has inherited one of worst crises of disappearances in the history of Latin America,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW. “While his administration has announced some important measures to assist victims, it has yet to take the steps necessary to ensure that those responsible for these horrific crimes are brought to justice.”
The HRW report comes on the heels of a civil society group identifying of Acapulco as Mexico’s most violent municipality in 2012. It was in that resort city where earlier this month six Spanish tourists were raped at their hotel.

Acapulco is located in Guerrero, which is a state that has seen a growth in “self-defense” vigilante groups that aim to fight crime spawned by drug cartels.

Video Source – YouTube via user DuniyaKiKhabrain

Online Sources - Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal, Huffington Post, Human Rights Watch, Milenio, BBC News, CNN

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