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UN report criticizes Mexico on enforced disappearances

February 14, 2015

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A U.N. commission reported Friday that disappearances are widespread in Mexico and authorities are often involved, most notoriously in the case of 43 students who went missing last fall, allegedly at the hands of local police.

Criticizing what it called a failure to prevent and punish enforced disappearances, which involve kidnappings carried out or permitted by officials, the body urged Mexico to quickly pass a law specifically establishing that as a crime.

“The information received by the committee shows a context of generalized disappearances in a great part of the country, many of which could qualify as enforced disappearances,” the U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances said.

The Mexican government, which last week presented a report to the committee in Geneva, said the recommendations “do not adequately reflect the information presented by Mexico,” since the country already committed to redouble its efforts to prevent and investigate disappearances and search for the missing.

In a joint statement, the Foreign Relations and Interior departments said the committee’s findings contribute no “additional elements” to Mexico’s attempts to tackle the problem.

The U.N. committee lamented what it called the “near inexistence” of convictions in enforced disappearances.

It cited as a sign of Mexico’s “serious challenges” the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 students in the southern city of Iguala, a case that has sparked protests across the country.

Federal prosecutors say the students were grabbed by police and handed over to drug gang members, who killed them and incinerated the bodies.

But Argentine forensics experts recently said there is not enough scientific evidence to conclusively prove the theory. Family members of the missing also doubt the official version.