July 22, 2019
Latest News

Inconsistent data mars effort to learn full scope of Mexico's secret graves

 Forensic officials exhume bodies found in a clandestine grave on March 20, 2017, in the central Mexican state of Morelos. EPA-EFE/Tony Rivera/File

Forensic officials exhume bodies found in a clandestine grave on March 20, 2017, in the central Mexican state of Morelos. EPA-EFE/Tony Rivera/File

Zoilo Carrillo

Mexico City, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Although Mexico's government has vowed to do its utmost to locate and identify tens of thousands of missing citizens, a report presented here Thursday reveals the serious complications involved in resolving a myriad of cases and investigating clandestine graves and remains of murder victims.

During the presentation of the study "Violence and Terror: Findings on Clandestine Graves in Mexico 2006-2017," the authors noted that the search for more than 40,000 people officially registered as missing in Mexico is marred by conflicting information provided by authorities.

These problems are intermingled with other difficulties, including the weakness of the country's justice systems, according to the report, which represents the most systematic effort to date at quantifying the extent of this humanitarian tragedy in the Aztec nation.

One of the coordinators of the study, Jorge Ruiz, said that only 24 of the country's 32 state attorney general's offices provided information to the different organizations involved in putting together the report.

"The rest told us ... that discoveries of clandestine graves had not been catalogued in their states, even though we know that's the case because they'd been documented by family members or because they'd been reported on in the media," he said.

And the data that was provided was riddled with inconsistencies, even when the source was the same AG's office.

Despite those problems, the study's results show that a total of 1,606 secret graves holding 2,489 bodies and 584 human remains were discovered in Mexico between 2006 and 2017.

Only 434 of the bodies recovered from the burial sites have been identified.

The rest are still nameless victims of a larger human tragedy that particularly affected the states of Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Veracruz, Sinaloa and Zacatecas, all of which have a major organized crime presence.

The general conclusion, according to Denise Gonzalez, another of the study's coordinators, is that the number of clandestine graves will only continue to grow.

She also lamented that even after analyzing all the data provided by the state AG's offices and taking into account press reports about secret graves that indicate thousands of these discoveries were made "the real magnitude of this vast problem" remains unclear.

"We can't say that the figures that are here are the final ones," Gonzalez said, adding that new clandestine graves are still being found.

Ruiz, a member of the Mexico City-based Ibero-American University's human rights program, said in that regard that the study's results merely indicate the reported number of secret graves.

Clarifying the real number of these graves remains a puzzling challenge for the time being.

With respect to those responsible for these crimes, the study showed the participation of the security forces and not just organized crime gangs.

A surge in homicides in Mexico began in 2006 with the coming to power of then-President Felipe Calderon, who made a militarized struggle against drug trafficking the centerpiece of his six-year mandate.

The president of Ibero-American University, David Fernandez, said that federal forces not only carry out killings but also "disappear people; that's what this report says."

He added that "36 sentences (have been handed down) against soldiers for crimes against civilians, four of them for forced disappearance."

For his part, Jan Jarab, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, urged authorities to create a registry with transparent information.

He added that the only way to combat the horror of widespread clandestine graves is with strategies against impunity.

Lastly, the head of Mexico's new National Search Commission, Karla Quintana, acknowledged that the main problem is a "lack of information."

Last month, Quintana said since the commission was reactivated in March it has received 481 reports of missing people.

She said then that of those missing persons 15 have been found alive and four dead.

Mexico has located 222 clandestine graves and 337 bodies since December 2018, when leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office for a six-year term.

Despite the magnitude of the problem, the experts attending Thursday's presentation recognized the efforts being carried out by the new administration and its willingness to recognize that the federal government also shares responsibility for this human rights tragedy.


News history

By María Rodríguez

Tame elephants mediate between humans, wild elephants in Indonesia's Aceh

By Ricardo Perez-Solero,

Buddhist novices perform rituals in mass ordination ceremony

Thai and foreign Buddhist devotees took part in several rituals Saturday as part of a mass ordination ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple on the...

Princess Mako honors memory of Japanese who died in Bolivia

Okinawa I, Bolivia, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Princess Mako of Japan honored this Friday the memory of her migrant compatriots who died in Bolivia at a monument in...

Indonesia to close Komodo Island to protect indigenous dragons

Jakarta, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Komodo Island, a popular tourist destination and home to the world’s largest lizards, will close in 2020 in a bid to protect its...

First library seeks to bring change to Pakistani gun-making town

By Jaime Leon

Indonesian Hindus flock to Mt. Bromo volcano for soul-cleansing

Tenggerese Hindus gathered on top of Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia, for a purification ritual.

KLM diktat to cover up while breastfeeding in flights causes global outrage

The Hague, Netherlands, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- Dutch airline KLM is facing a storm of criticism for asking mothers to cover up while breastfeeding their babies...

Recruiting armies of bugs to chomp back Florida's invasive plants

By Ana Mengotti

DR Congo vaccinates Goma to curb Ebola expansion

Kinshasa, July 17 (efe-epa).- The Democratic Republic of Congo is planning to vaccinate about 100 people in the northeastern city of Goma who had contact...

US judge denies bail to church leader accused of child rape, pornography

Los Angeles, USA, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The leader of the so-called "Luz del Mundo" ("Light of the World") church will remain imprisoned in a United States...

Dried-up Aculeo Lagoon shows the woes of climate change in Chile

By Alberto Peña

By Nerea González

Trump doubles down on tweets against Democratic congresswomen

By Lucia Leal.

Residents of historic Panama neighborhood fight gentrification

By Maria M.Mur.

National health alert in Philippines after over 450 dengue deaths

Manila, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Philippines on Monday declared a national alert due to a dengue outbreak, with over 106,630 cases recorded in the first half of...

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico's Pompeii buried by Paricutin volcano

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

The Japanese island in the heart of South America

By Gina Baldivieso

More and more reports of sexual abuse against minors in Panama

By Ana de Leon

Protesters in US urge end to migrant detention centers

By Laura Barros

US lawmakers spotlight conditions for migrant kids detained on the border

Washington, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- With fear of the guards, feeling ill, with little sleep and no soap in sight, so the hours go by for thousands of children...

Japanese government apologizes for discriminating against lepers for decades

Tokyo, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of Japan on Friday apologized to leprosy patients and their families who suffered discrimination and isolation...

Trump gives up on adding citizenship question to 2020 Census

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Thursday abandoned his bid to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 US Census,...

Pelosi says Trump is terrorizing immigrants with threat of raids

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday that President Donald Trump's threats to round-up...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.