Mexico to Launch Database of More Than 100,000 ‘Disappeared’ People

Relatives of missing people take part in a protest demanding truth and justice for victims on Mother's Day, at the Angel of Independence Monument in Mexico City, Mexico May 10, 2023. REUTERS/Raquel Cunha
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MEXICO CITY, May 11 (Reuters) – Mexico will launch a new tool later this month to help record information on the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing, the country’s federal prosecutors office (FGR) said on Thursday.

The registry is set to gather information from a number of databases covering mass and clandestine graves, arrests, torture crimes, criminal records, fingerprints and genetics, the FGR said in Mexico’s official gazette

Last year, authorities’ list of officially disappeared people surpassed 100,000, and the number is now estimated at more than 112,000. Numbers rose in the aftermath of former President Felipe Calderon’s war on the country’s powerful drug cartels.

“Much remains to be done and this announcement is certainly a first step,” human rights group Centro Prodh said in a tweet. “The FGR has finally recognized its responsibility.”

A number of non-governmental organizations are dedicated to finding relatives who have gone missing (or been “disappeared” in Spanish), claiming that public offices dedicated to investigating cases are ineffective, unresponsive and under-funded.

The FGR’s announcement comes a day after Mexican Mothers’ Day, when crowds of mothers each year take to the streets to demand “truth and justice” for their missing children.

The National Forensic Data Bank (BNDF), together with the National Register of Unidentified and Unclaimed Deceased Persons, is set to launch operations for the database on May 29.

The creation of such a database had been required by law since 2017, but stalled until a judge ordered for it to be renewed last October.

The judge’s ruling came in a case brought by Olimpia Montoya, whose brother went missing in Guanajuato state six years ago, declaring that her right to truth and justice was being hampered by a lack of information.

Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Isabel Woodford and Leslie Adler
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