By: José Antonio Román
An epidemic of disappearances exists in Mexico, fed by the government’s “incompetence, inertia and indolence,” which has been more worried about giving “entirely political responses” than about designing real and articulated efficient public policies for confronting that phenomenon, Amnesty International (AI).
Upon presenting the report Treated with indolence: the state’s response to disappearance in Mexico, the international human rights organization emphasized that almost half of the 27,600 people disappeared or not located, according to official numbers, have been reported during the administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto; 3,425 of them in 2015.
AI points out in the 52-page document that many cases derive from detentions by members of the Army or police, and the fact that Mexico lacks a registry of apprehensions “permit the authorities to deny all responsibility and wash their hands of it.”
It warns about the urgency with which the Mexican State recognizes the magnitude of the problem and fully assumes its duty to investigate all the cases of disappearance and enforced disappearances that occurred in the country, and of bringing those responsible before justice, adhering to due process guaranties, as well as assuring access to integral reparations for the harm to all the victims and their family members.
In the report, AI chose two emblematic cases that demonstrate various facets of the problem. One case is that reported in recent years in Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, where 351 people have disappeared since 2007; 1,700 people have disappeared in the entire state.
The other case is that of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College, of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.
“In Mexico it doesn’t matter whether a disappearance is treated as a hidden situation or is a high profile case, the authorities seem incapable of giving a solid and institutional response that may lead to finding the truth and guarantying justice,” the report presented officially yesterday at the Memory and Tolerance Museum points out.
Amnesty International points out that the incompetence that affects the whole system and the total absence of will from state and federal authorities to investigate the disappearance of thousands of people and dutifully look for them feed a human rights crisis of epidemic proportions.
“The incessant wave of disappearances that has seized Chihuahua and the total lack of responsibility with which the investigation into the enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students is being managed show the Mexican authorities absolute disrespect for dignity and human rights,” asserted Erika Guevara-Rosas, director of Amnesty International’s program for the Americas.
It emphasized that in many cases of denounced disappearances the victim was last seen when members of the police or the Army detained him. Nevertheless, “the Mexican government lacks a detailed registry of detentions, which permits the authorities to deny all responsibility and wash their hands of the commission of enforced disappearances.”
As a result of an investigation, as well as interviews and testimonies from family members of the victims in the case of Ciudad Cuauhtémoc and that of Ayotzinapa, AI assures having established that in neither of them has the search for the disappeared been adequate and well planned.
In both situations, it adds, the authorities have been irresponsible in the way in which they manage the case information.
They also observed that the treatment that the authorities in charge of the investigation give the families is insufficient, hurtful and profoundly disinterested.
The report concludes with 21 recommendations for the Mexican State in the legislative ambit, the search for those disappeared and investigation of the facts, integral repair of the harm and other public policy matters.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, January 15, 2016
Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee