External Affairs

Mexico Enacts Law to Help Find Thousands Missing in Gang Violence

Relatives of missing people hold a protest, outside Los Pinos presidential residence, for the strengthening of the new general law on disappearance, in Mexico City, Mexico November 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Relatives of missing people hold a protest, outside Los Pinos presidential residence, for the strengthening of the new general law on disappearance, in Mexico City, Mexico November 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Mexico City: Mexico on Thursday undertook to focus more resources on the search for missing people, the number of which has grown dramatically in recent years as gang violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law the creation of a national commission dedicated to finding people who have disappeared that in its first stage will add some 469 million pesos ($25 million) to better fund search efforts, officials said.

Over the past 50 years, more than 32,000 Mexicans have been reported missing, according to government data. More than half of the disappearances have been during Pena Nieto’s six-year term, which began at the end of 2012.

“The disappearance of people is one of the greatest challenges facing our human rights … and one of the most painful experiences anyone can suffer,” Pena Nieto said during the signing ceremony.

The law, which also creates new forensic databases and rules on the exhumation of cadavers, goes into force in about 60 days.

Raging gangland violence in Mexico has claimed well over 100,000 lives over the past decade. Authorities are often unable to identify bodies found in mass graves, many of which are located in remote areas.