NPR Story
12:46 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Officials Say 26,121 Have Disappeared In Drug War

There are at least 26,121 people missing in Mexico, having disappeared under the President Felipe Calderon’s term, according to government officials.

The list does not include information collected after November 2012. The Associated Press reports the official number is compiled from different prosecutors across Mexico, “[it] includes people reported missing for any reason during the previous administration.”

The official number was released days after a Human Rights Watch report that documents more than 140 “enforced” disappearances, where there’s “compelling evidence” of state agency participation.

The majority of the likely enforced disappearance cases we documented follow a pattern. Members of security forces arbitrarily detain individuals without arrest orders or probable cause. In many cases, these detentions occur in victims’ homes, in front of family members; in others, they take place at security checkpoints, at workplaces, or in public venues, such as bars. Soldiers and police who carry out these detentions almost always wear uniforms and drive official vehicles. When victims’ relatives inquire about detainees’ whereabouts at the headquarters of security forces and public prosecutors’ offices, they are told that the detentions never took place.

The report concludes that Calderon’s drug war has led to the most severe “crisis of enforced disappearances in Latin America in decades.”

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