Stigma, indifference, and bullying affect children of disappeared in Mexico

February 18, 2023, 08:06 PM


More than 100 thousand investigation files in Mexico are open for cases of disappearances. The stigmatization of society, bullying, and indifference from teachers and institutions, they do not listen to children by putting them in the spotlight, according to a publication issued this week in Guadalajara by the Justice Center for Peace and Development (Cepad).

During the presentation of the publication “Infancias sonoras; nuestras voces; nuestros derechos,” Sofía Virgen, a member of the psychosocial area of Cepad, explained that children and adolescents want to feel heard and protected from the forced disappearance of their loved ones. Children expressed that they need schools to understand their situation and to stop stigmatizing missing persons.

“We need them not to judge us and not to judge the people who disappear,” “we need to feel safe, not to be afraid,” “I want the school to take care of me, for the teacher to understand that sometimes I cannot concentrate,” “that they do not speak badly of the missing people in the news and on the street,” “that they support us in the marches,” are some of the phrases expressed by those who participated in a workshop. The publication comes amid Mexico’s disappearance crisis, which last year surpassed the historical figure of more than 100,000 people not located since records began, with the state of Jalisco at the top.

Virgen said that minors know their relatives’ situation but feel they need to be heard by adults even though they want to learn more about the problem and assert their opinion. “When I asked them what they needed: (they answered) to listen to me. Sometimes they didn’t even need answers, just knowing that their questions are valid, their emotions, that they have doubts and (want) to be seen, that they are there and that they are also living this,” she said.

Rosa María Quezada, the mother of a missing person and grandmother of one of the girls participating in the publication, pointed out that schools are often indifferent to children who often feel harassed by their peers or the teachers, affecting their school performance. Rocío Martínez, the coordinator of the psychosocial area of Cepad, said that one of the challenges is to hear children by society and educational institutions, in addition to recognizing the impact that the disappearance of a loved one has on their lives and those who care for them.

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NGOs demand effective mechanisms to help families of missing migrants in Mexico

By Edición CAMBIO 22 February 25th, 2023

Human rights organizations and relatives of disappeared migrants demanded in southern Mexico the enforcement of the law and compliance with the recommendations of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. In an interview, the representative of Mesoamerican Voices, Emanuel Bran Guzmán, said that “the law has had many problems. It is not working in all the states or federal institutions.”

The organizations, including Mesoamerican Voices, spoke out for more efficient laws as a priority for vulnerable groups and an end to the violation of the human rights of migrants and their families. The list includes the identification, notification, return, repatriation, and dignified restitutions according to cultural beliefs, a professional search for DNA recovery, and an investigation of the different massacres of migrants.

Likewise, they demanded the homologation of the Law of the Disappeared and the creation of the Citizen Council of the State Search Commission in Chiapas. They also called for effective and coordinated operations with unique forensic identification mechanisms. At the same time, the families demanded the effective operation of the external support mechanism for relatives of missing migrants from Central America and Mexico.

This was presented during the Central America, Mexico, and the United States regional conference for the rights of disappeared migrants and their families in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. The meeting took place at the facilities of the Samuel Jtatik Museum, with organizations such as Melelxojobal, Armadillos Rastreadores Ensenada, Colectivo Oaxaqueños Buscando a los Nuestros, Cofamifear-Honduras, Committee of relatives of deceased and disappeared migrants in El Salvador, among others.

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Relatives of the disappeared protest on the Monterrey-Laredo highway. They placed posters to support the search for their missing loved ones in the states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.


February, 12th 2023

A group of women members of the collective “Todos Somos Uno,” representing relatives of victims of disappearance on the Monterrey-Laredo highway, which connects Mexico with the United States, placed posters to support the search for their loved ones. The event was held this Sunday in Monterrey, Nuevo León, where they accused the indifference of the states’ authorities.

Casandra Sánchez, one of the members of the collective, said that they found difficulties in following up on the investigation files of their cases because they are in the hands of the Government of Tamaulipas. She specified that, as the events occurred in the territory of that entity, it is difficult for them to travel, and they are at risk of being victims of a crime. She demanded the support of the authorities of Nuevo León to expedite the cases.

“The former governor (Jaime Rodríguez Calderón) met with the Attorney General, and we all agreed that the investigations would be transferred to Ciudad Victoria, with no progress,” she said. The woman is looking for her husband, Brandon Issac Hernandez, who worked as a trailer driver and disappeared five years ago.

Margarita Tolentino, who is looking for her sons Manuel Antonio, Michael Foxworth Tolentino, and her godson Bruno Castañeda, said that the current governor of Nuevo León, Samuel García, only received them at the beginning of his term, but that was all.

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Data cross-checking improves searches for missing persons in Mexico. About 50 thousand possible coincidences have been achieved.

El Siglo de Torreón January 29th, 2023

Due to the massive crossing of data between government information databases, about 50,000 possible coincidences have been achieved in the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons (RNPDNO), according to Javier Yankelevich, an official of the National Search Commission.

It is an almost archaeological work, said the head of the Search Operations Directorate in an interview broadcast by the project “Where the disappeared go” obtained by the newspaper Reforma, including varied records, which is giving already results. “I think it’s essential to understand that part of the disappearance problem in Mexico is a data problem,” he said, “there are, various difficulties in crossing information”.

He explained that many databases that could contain information about missing persons do not have a dictionary — a key document for understanding what the database includes — and are not standardized, so they cannot be easily shared between institutions.

The team led by Yankelevich, consults multiple sources and databases – ranging from papers scribbled by gravediggers to institutional computer systems with millions of records – to find missing people, dead or alive.

Indications have emerged from different sources. Since the creation of the project in 2020, the Mass Graves Module has been crossed with the RNPDNO seven times, and thus more than 800 coincidences have been identified. This is only the beginning, he says, of a case-by-case evaluation process.

To read complete article in Spanish: ‘We are not files’, an auxiliary platform for relatives of missing persons.

Redacción Aristegui Noticias 18 Jan, 2023 16:19

The digital portal works as a “guide or a manual” for people with missing relatives, said María Luisa Aguilar, of the Prodh Center. The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center presented a digital platform called to help relatives of the disappeared.

The digital space was promoted by members of collectives, the deputy representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (OHCHR), and developed by VIRK. At a press conference, María Luisa Aguilar of the Prodh Center described the digital portal as a “guide or a manual” for relatives searching for disappeared persons who follow up on their complaints to the Prosecutors’ office.

The digital portal seeks to promote the search and investigation actions of the families of disappeared persons in Mexico with legal tools and valuable information so that they can follow up on their investigation files. The platform aims to help family members and provide them with practical guidance on the actions they can take before the law enforcement agencies in Mexico. It is also the result of the questions and experiences that different groups searching for disappeared persons have shared through the organization’s popular education spaces.

The Prodh Center confirmed that the collective processes driven by families generate the most outstanding results. In this context, aims to help promote important actions that must be carried out in any disappearance investigation, making creative use of digital tools available to those who have a mobile device.

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Photo: Aristegui Noticias

“Ruido” (Noise) a film that shows what relatives of the disappeared live in Mexico

Editorial ABC news Mexico City, January 12, 2023

The film can be found on the Netflix streaming platform starring Julieta Egurrola. Disappearances in Mexico are an issue that seems to have no end and leaves thousands of families between pain and uncertainty. Because of that situation, Natalia Beristáin wanted to narrate in her film “Ruido” (Noise) the experience of the relatives of all the disappeared.

The film premiered at the Morelia International Film Festival at the end of October, and since then, it has had good reviews.

What is ‘Ruido’ about? The film shows the drama that relatives experience when an enforced disappearance occurs and what they must live through for the authorities to give them an “answer.”

“Ruido” focuses on Julia, a woman desperately searching for her daughter, who disappeared while on vacation with friends. After nine months, the authorities do not give progress in the case, which forces the woman to search for herself. Natalia Beristáin explained that was the reason for filming this movie.

“Having the opportunity to return to the state where we shot the film and introduce the work done not only to all the people who worked on the production but especially to the families that integrate the Voz y Dignidad collective (as well as representatives of five other search collectives from different states of the country) has been one of the most powerful experiences in my professional life. The presentation of the film a few days ago was a powerful reminder of why we made this movie”.

She added: “Mexico is traversed by violent and brutal stories marking the lives of families torn apart by disappearances. From there, we made this film, and we want to expand a noise as attractive and inspiring, as annoying and uncomfortable, that weaves ties within society to change a national reality that aggravates us. It is about keeping in mind the power of the collective in the search for truth, justice and memory.”

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Starting 2023, there are 109,743 missing and unlocated people in Mexico

INFORMADOR By: SUN. January 7th, 2023

The National Search Commission has registered 27,409 missing and unlocated women nationwide, while 81,593 are missing men.

Seven days into 2023, there are 109,743 missing and not located people nationwide, according to information from the National Search Commission, with a cut to January 7. Last Friday, the body of dermatologist María del Carmen Cruz Segovia was located in Tamaulipas; in that state, there are 12 thousand 469 missing people, according to figures released on the website of the Commission. The case was announced through social networks, and one of the collectives that disseminated the disappearance file is the Tamaulipas Feminist Front. María del Carmen disappeared on December 28 when she was driving her car to the viewpoint of the Altas Cumbres ejido to enjoy the scenery and walk; however, only her car was found there.

UN Women points out that “forced disappearances in Mexico constitute one of the main violations against human rights” and emphasizes that 25% of disappeared persons are women. This information is from November 2022.

It also recognizes the efforts of collectives and organizations “mothers get organized in their communities to defend the right of the disappeared to be sought and who fight for the truth and justice in each case.” The National Search Commission has registered 27,409 missing and unlocated women nationwide, while 81,593 are missing men.

Another case is Lariza Skarlet Opón Velázquez, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared on December 22 in San Mateo Oxtotitlán, and dozens of people joined in her search in Toluca. In the capital of the State of Mexico, a caravan of cars integrated by drivers from a digital transportation platform intensified their search with relatives. Lariza was last seen by her mother when “she went to the store and didn’t come back.”

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Families of the disappeared light trees with photographs of missing relatives in Mexico.

Editorial / Correo / December 17, 2022

The Tree of Hope lit up with photographs of those who disappeared by violence in Mexico. In an act full of hope, parents desperately searching for their missing children illuminated a Christmas tree in the Mexican state of Guerrero with a series of lights and hung photographs with the faces of teenagers, women, and men, in the Zocalo of the port of Acapulco. This symbolic act was carried out by the “Asociación de Familias de Desaparecidos en México” Association of Families of the Disappeared in Mexico (AFADEM), who presented “The Tree of Hope” with the faces of those who disappeared by violence in Mexico. In the “Tree of Hope,” each of the relatives told the tragedy they lived in the absence of their loved ones. “If you know someone who has a missing person in their home or someone who has a missing person, do not hesitate to contact any of us,” said AFADEM spokesman Julio Mata.

Socorro Gil Guzmán, one of the mothers of the disappeared, explained her tragedy when her son Jonathan disappeared on December 5, 2018, after going to a soccer championship with his friends. The police detained them, and he was never seen again. “Carlos was tortured, killed, and thrown into the street. My son was disappeared,” the woman lamented. “People do not disappear or get lost, they are taken away by other people, and they are hurt; some are taken to illegal work like young girls, and men are killed,” Gil Guzmán added.

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The search brigade for the disappeared concludes its work in Morelos: finds six bodies and reports non-compliance of authorities.

December 11th, 2022 /LATINUS

After two weeks of work in Morelos, the National Search Brigade for Missing Persons concluded its day in the state on Friday with the discovery of six bodies and skeletal remains, whose identification is pending.

“Despite the difficulties faced, including the breach of agreements by federal and state authorities in all aspects, this seventh exercise again represented achievements towards the search for missing persons and the construction of peace in Mexico,” the brigade said in a statement.

From November 17 to December 9, more than 150 families joined the search for missing persons in different municipalities of Morelos. Over the week, the brigade exhumed six bodies found in a clandestine grave in the municipality of Cuautla. Days before, they located skeletal remains in a ravine between Cuautla and Ayala and a point of interest in the municipality of Yautepec.

During their work, the brigade demanded authorities guarantee the safety and integrity of the families because, on Friday, December 2, they were intimidated by armed people while working in the municipality of Huitzilac. The events occurred around 1:00 in the afternoon when unidentified people fired several times in the vicinity of the search site to stop the work.

Video capture LATINUS

A Christmas “tree of hope” waiting for missing relatives

December 4th, 2022 / David Celestino / El Ciudadano

The collective placed photos as a protest against the lack of actions of the authorities to locate their relatives. Regardless of the obstacles of the City Council of Puebla to exercise their right to use public roads, the collective “Voz de los Desaparecidos” placed on the plate of the zócalo its “tree of hope,” with photos of relatives.

For the fifth consecutive year, the families of victims of enforced disappearance posted photos of those whom one day left and have not returned as a protest against the lack of “forceful” actions by the authorities to locate them. 

María Luisa Nuñez Barajas, the collective founder, indicated that the tree symbolizes the hope of the people for their disappeared relatives to return and sensitize the Puebla population to this problem that, according to the woman, has reached 3 thousand people.

At the base of two trees, a few meters from the Municipal Palace the collective placed the photos of José María Sedano Posadas, Claudia Morales, Jesús Sayas Martinez, Jesús Gutiérrez Rodríguez and others, who have not been located for months, and even years.  Nuñez Barojas stressed that the tree placement is also a search action because, in some cases, they have obtained information from people who see the photos.

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