Mexico.- Far from observing a reduction in cases of disappearances in Mexico, the figures continue to rise. Only in June 2021, the federal government pointed out that 89 thousand 488 people they had status of missing and not located, but for this September 1, that figure reached 91 thousand 410 people with the same status, that is, one thousand 922 more people disappeared in two months and officially recognized as such.
For Michael Chamberlin, a teacher in human rights and democracy, in the last six years, at least from Felipe Calderón to AMLO, the issue of forced disappearance has been taken up from the shores, little more focused on the attention, if anything, of the victims.
“I consider that it is more an Administration of the victims and less of the point of the central problem, of the disappearances”, indicated for Debate.
The specialist opined that, in general, there is an evasion by trying to diagnose what is the cause of the disappearances and being able to act accordingly, which he considered causes disappearances to continue to accumulate and the problem continues to be misunderstood.
The figures and the Prosecutor’s Offices
Michael Chamberlin, who was a member of the Advisory Council of the National Human Rights Commission, added to this publishing house that, unfortunately, the focus has been, rather than looking for the disappeared, to look at the mothers as they look for them.
“The two questions that are important to answer, I think, are not answered, that is: where are they and how do we stop it from happening? That is why I say that we are on the shores, seeing the groups, the mothers attending to some needs, such as the commissions of attention to victims or discovering clandestine graves, but accumulating bodies ”, he lamented.
He insisted that there is not really a substantive care and considered that this has to do with understanding how the criminal power works in the country and how there are links between criminal groups, businessmen and authorities.
Chamberlin added that there is neither a mandatory nor a single registration form, in the case of disappearances by the Prosecutor’s Offices.
Currently, he pointed out that these institutions are still the ones that have open preliminary inquiries or investigation folders, who, in turn, provide the figures to the federal government, but indicated that the cases that do not have an investigation folder or that are not reported either they get registered in the national figures.
“And that necessarily means that this figure of 91 thousand and little else is necessarily an underreporting. If one considers, on the other hand, that there is a black figure of almost ninety-some percent, it is also very possible that the victims are many more than we know, “he said.
Lack of resources
Michael Chamberlin considered that the local search commissions, although they have this role, until now have not developed the search capabilities, firstly, to register and, secondly, to coordinate and collect and exchange information at the national level.
“It is also difficult, on that side, to know how many missing persons there really are in Mexico,” he said. In recent years, these commissions have denounced the lack of financial support from the authorities.
In this regard, Michael Chamberlin indicated that it is not only a matter of lack of financial resources. For example, he pointed out that a strong criticism that is renewed regarding the International Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearances, is the lack of capacities of the people search commissions, which implies that they have enough equipment, enough personnel, but also enough powers to be able to do these searches.
“I know of state search commissions that even have underwater teams to search for people and they do not have personnel or do not have the powers to carry out searches, because they need the Police or the public for a judge to go, ask for a warrant. I search, request a telephone intervention, request custody of the video, where it is watched, where the disappeared person is taken, so that a follow-up can be given, ”he explained.
In this regard, he added that these search commissions have very limited legal resources, in addition to the technical, human and financial resources that are needed. For the teacher in human rights and democracy, this is clearly a lack of political will to address the underlying issue.
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To understand …
Crisis in Semefos
Another example highlighted by Michael Chamberlin was the lack of resources to identify bodies accumulated in mass graves or in the Semefos, around 52,000 in state custody, according to the most recent figures, he indicated. Therefore, he added that resources are also needed to return these identified bodies to their families. “And there is not, there simply is not, it seems to me that they are things not very difficult to understand, however, we let this forensic crisis and the crisis of impunity continue to accumulate,” he concluded.