GlobalReports of deletion of records of missing persons raise alarms for NGOs...

Reports of deletion of records of missing persons raise alarms for NGOs in Mexico

When the government announced this week a reduction in the number of missing people, many Mexicans like Irma Orgen, who had to take on the search for her father due to the inaction of the authorities, feared for the fate of their relatives’ cases.

His fears were realized when, upon reviewing a digital search platform created by the local organization Data Cívica with the different lists of missing persons that exist in the country, he found that his father Marco Antonio Orgen has not appeared in any official record since 2017 despite the fact that His case was reported to local and federal authorities.

“I feel that my father is being part of those disappeared people who want to be disappeared,” said Orgen, 40, who does not know the reasons why his father was erased from official records.

Yours is not an isolated case. The Data Cívica study, which compared the two versions published last August of the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons (RNPDNO) with the new version of the National Generalized Search Strategy launched by the government in December, detected that 10,953 names are missing. .

The discovery activated the alerts of some local humanitarian associations and relatives of missing persons who demanded on Wednesday that the government preserve the different records that exist in the country, and urged the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the United Nations High Commissioner United Nations for Human Rights and the UN Committee on Forced Disappearances to act to protect the data of the thousands of Mexicans who have not yet been located.

“We will have to take and support some collective action that supports the rights of our missing people. “They can’t just delete them like that,” said activist Jacqueline Palmeros, who is searching for her daughter who has been missing for almost four years.

Palmeros, who is part of a group of searching mothers in the Mexican capital, expressed that if a favorable response from Mexican institutions is not achieved, “an international body would definitely be considered.”

The activist Raymundo Ramos, president of the local non-governmental organization Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo, joined the claims, who urged the IACHR and the different UN agencies to speak out on the complaints of elimination of names of missing persons and call for the Mexican authorities to a meeting to discuss the issue.

The Mexican authorities have not yet offered a response to the report presented by Data Cívica.

The decision made last year by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to carry out a new census of missing persons encouraged a sea of ​​criticism and doubts around the different records in the country.

The questions intensified this week after the government presented a new balance sheet and registration methodology that reduced the number of missing persons from almost 111,000 last year to 99,729.

When explaining the decrease, the Secretary of the Interior, Luisa María Alcalde, stated that the adjustment was due to the fact that the people located and thus registered were more than 5,500 from August to March, which brought the total number of people found to be formalized to over 15,000. .

While the government talks about a reduction in the numbers, the RNPDNO published on Wednesday on the website of the government’s National Search Commission indicates that there are 115,000 missing and unlocated people.

The government has not yet clarified whether the new balance will at some point be combined with the RNPDNO, although the Mayor ruled out on Tuesday seeking to “shave” the list of victims. The official attributed the attacks to “media manipulation”

In an attempt to support the relatives of missing persons in the face of the confusion that exists with the different records, Data Cívica—a civil organization dedicated to the study and collection of data for the defense of human rights—presented on Tuesday a digital platform that allows consult and track the search status of a missing person.

According to its director, Mónica Meltis, the investigation made it possible to identify “inconsistencies” in the records of missing persons in Mexico that reveal the “lack of traceability, transparency and clear methodologies,” as well as the absence of family participation in these processes.

The phenomenon of disappearances in Mexico began between the 1960s and 1980s, but the numbers skyrocketed in the 2000s with the increase in drug trafficking activities and the war against cartels undertaken by the government of the then president. Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).

The problem had its greatest expression in the case of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School who disappeared in September 2014 in the city of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero.

Almost nine and a half years later, neither the motive for the crime nor the fate of the students is clear, although charred remains of three of the young people were found and it is presumed that they were all murdered by members of a local cartel that trafficked heroin and that acted colluded with security forces and local, state and federal authorities, including the military.

In recent weeks, the parents of the young people and their lawyers have intensified their criticism against the government, which they accuse of not fulfilling its commitment to resolve the case, but President López Obrador has dismissed the questions.

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