During the presentation of the Report of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on the visit to Mexico from November 15 to 26, 2021, the body of independent experts urged an end to absolute impunity and the establishment of a national policy for the prevention and eradication of disappearances. The Committee also recommended strengthening search and investigation processes, adequate human and financial support to the National Search Commission and local commissions, and the systematic and effective coordination of all institutions involved in searching, investigating, and accompanying victims. Public servants, both at the federal, state, and municipal levels, and organized crime as central perpetrators of disappearances, are responsible for the growth of disappearances in Mexico.
Regarding the disappearance of human rights defenders and more than 30 journalists between 2003 and 2021, none of these people have been located, and investigations and sanctions against those responsible have not progressed. The Committee considered of “particular concern” the victimization of women since, during disappearances, they are the ones who remain in charge of the families and are responsible for the search for their loved ones by their means.
Impunity in Mexico is a structural feature that favors the reproduction and cover-up of enforced disappearances. As of November 26 last year, only between 2 and 6% of cases of enforced disappearances were prosecuted. Only 36 sentences have been issued in cases at the national level. The lack of investigations contributes to the notable absence of victims’ trust in the authorities and many unreported cases.
Another element to underscore is that the National Search Plan has not been implemented to conduct investigations despite institutional and legal advances.