All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Enforced Disappearances in Mexico?

While inquiring into the cases of missing persons in Mexico, the US based organization Human Rights Watch claims to have found evidence of likely enforced disappearances in a recently released report. The organization was looking into the disappearance of 249 persons of which they found that in 149 of said cases the police or military were reportedly involved.

Reportedly many of the cases take place when men/husbands went out for groceries and never returned or were taken in the night. Many were said to be last seen being stuffed into the back of some kind of official vehicle (military of police).

This is a worrying report. While it has been reported for some time that Mexico has been involved in some shady business regarding human rights, such as extrajudicial killings, this report is said to be one of the most significant attempts to identify problems within the government to date.

The report does not directly indicate that the government is behind these actions but its not a possibility to be overlooked. Of the 149 cases with reported police/military involvement, 95 were reportedly involving local police. Local police in Mexico are apparently also well known to be on the payroll of gangsters and drug cartels, and in some cases are the gangsters.

The implications are further complicated because cartel operatives have been known to run hits dressed and disguised as military officials. The Guardian, a UK newspaper, had this to say, "Determining responsibility for the disappearances is further complicated by cartel operatives who sometimes disguise themselves as police officers or soldiers, carrying out mob hits and kidnappings while wearing government uniforms or replicas and driving fake military and law enforcement vehicles."

Still there seems to be an increase in activity looking into said disappearances. Nick Steinberg, the reports author, had this to say about the Mexican governments actions - "For years the Calderon government responded to the mounting cases of disappearances like it did all human rights problems, by pretending they weren't happening, and blaming the few cases it acknowledged on narcos...The Peña Nieto administration has begun to acknowledge the problem, but what remains to be seen is whether they're ready to do the tough work of finding the missing, prosecuting the perpetrators and stopping this horrific practice."

You can read more here and the actual report here.

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