Mothers of disappeared children march across Mexico demanding their return

According to the official data, since 2006, when the country’s drug war began, over 87,000 people have disappeared in Mexico

May 12, 2021 by Tanya Wadhwa
On May 10, thousands of mothers of disappeared children marched in various cities across Mexico, demanding that the government help them find their daughters and sons, and get justice for them. Photo: The Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico/Twitter

In Mexico, Mothers’ Day is celebrated on May 10. However, mothers of disappeared children claim that “they have nothing to celebrate on this day.” For the past ten years, since 2012, groups of these mothers have been protesting on this day, demanding that the government authorities help them find the truth about the whereabouts of their daughters and sons, and get justice for them. On Monday May 10, thousands of mothers marched in various cities across Mexico to remember their missing daughters and sons, and to remind the state of its outstanding debt to find them.

In the capital, Mexico City, under the banner of “Tenth March for National Dignity, Mothers Looking for their Sons and Daughters, Truth and Justice”, over 500 mothers peacefully marched from the Angel of Independence monument to the Monument to the Revolution. The participants carried photos of their loved one and chanted slogans like “where are our children, where are they?”, “Mr. President, we are demanding that you find our loved ones”, “Child, listen, your mother is searching for you,” “I will look for you until I find you,” etc.

Similar peaceful marches and other protest actions were also organized in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora, Veracruz, among others.

The mothers and relatives of disappeared persons, each with their personal painful story, demanded that the national government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) address the “humanitarian tragedy” and urgently take measures to stop the crimes that took their loved ones from them. They stated that their demands have not been resolved in years, and that governments come and go, but they do nothing and the struggle for truth and justice of the families continues.

“President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that missing persons are a priority in his government and unfortunately we verify every day that, as in previous governments, there is no political will to carry out forceful and effective actions to search for and find them,” stated the Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico, an organization that brings together 74 groups of relatives of disappeared people and about 40 civil rights organizations, in conversation with Desinformemonos.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the United Forces for Our Disappeared in Nuevo León (FUNDENL) said that President AMLO “still has time to take a turn and change course, be remembered as the president who brought the disappeared home and not go down in history like his predecessors.”

The Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico, through the organization’s official website, reported that its representatives went to the National Palace, in the morning before the march, to formally deliver a set of common demands to President AMLO. In the letter, the organization demanded that the authorities “fully assume their obligation to find them and guarantee for them and us our right to access to justice.” It also demanded “greater and better protection for those who carry out search tasks.” For this purpose, the organization demanded that “an effective and immediate search must be guaranteed as soon as the authorities are notified of the disappearance of a person” and that “all the necessary resources be used and the different authorities properly implement the Approved Search Protocol.”

The organization highlighted that the “inter-institutional coordination between the bodies that make up the National Search System is fundamental” and thus requested the president to use his legislative power and veto the new Law of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), which was sent to him on April 29, as it “dilutes the role and responsibility of said body as part of this system” and “represents a setback to the right to access to justice both for the families and for the victims.”

The entity also called for strengthening of “ordinary forensic services to guarantee a comprehensive and long-term solution to the identification of deceased persons.” It also demanded compliance with all the recommendations of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, also expressed its solidarity with the mothers of the disappeared persons, noting “the importance of guaranteeing the right to truth, justice and reparations.”

According to the official data by the Mexican government, since 2006, when the country’s war against drug trafficking began, over 87,000 people have disappeared in the country. The victims are usually young men and women, who vanish without a trace. Many of the disappeared are presumed to be abducted and killed by drug cartels or kidnapping gangs or human trafficking groups, however, in some cases, the government authorities and the police are also suspected to be involved.

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