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Good morning, this is Michelle and today we hear a story of immeasurable strength as families in Mexico carry the heavy burden of searching for their disappeared loved ones sometimes for decades.

Citing staggering figures of over 95,000 victims in a country examination, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances described it as a “human tragedy”. We talked to one of the lawyers who fights alongside these families for justice.

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


🇲🇽🔍In Mexico, families lead the search for their disappeared loved ones

Photo article

Families put up flyers of their disappeared loved ones in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico where more than 3,000 people are still missing. (Credit: Courtesy of Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte/Favia Lucero)

Two kilometres south of the US border, looking across from El Paso, Texas, Borunda Park is one of the main attractions of Ciudad Juarez. At the heart of the Mexican Northern city, the park hosts joy rides, a playground and food stands for families to enjoy. Once a month, the decor completely changes as families gather at the park to remember their loved ones, who have gone missing.

These gatherings have been taking place since last year thanks to the Network of United Families for Truth and Justice and the Centre for Human Rights of Paso del Norte. In Mexico, it is families and civil society organisations that lead the search for those who have forcibly disappeared, Carla Palacio, lawyer and coordinator at the Centre, told Geneva Solutions. The organisation provides legal and psychological support for male victims of enforced disappearances and their relatives as well as male and female victims of state-perpetrated torture.

The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances called on Tuesday for “immediate actions to end absolute impunity and a national policy to prevent this human tragedy”, following a visit to Mexico in November.

In the North American country of about 129 million people, enforced disappearances have become a daily event. Since 1964 and up to this date, the whereabouts of 99,007 people remain unknown, with nearly 90 per cent having disappeared by force, according to the country’s national registry.

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