On May 14th in his morning press conference, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration, Alejandro Encinas, reported that since the beginning of the current administration, the authorities have identified 222 clandestine graves at 81 sites in which presumably the skeletal remains of 337 bodies were found in 17 states. Veracruz, Sonora, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Colima and Nayarit are the entities in which the greatest number of discoveries were recorded. “Although it hurts, we need to know what really happened and unfortunately continues to happen because you cannot, overnight, end these inheritances of insecurity and violence,” AMLO said and described the preceding years as “a very sad period for Mexico”.
President Lopez Obrador stressed that it will start a 500-million-peso budget for the search tasks but said that this amount would be expanded if necessary. New measures were announced such as an update in the process of the National Registry of Missing Persons and the integration of the National Register of Graves, created by the current administration in coordination with the Undersecretary of Human Rights, with the National Search Commission, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic, state prosecutors and victim groups. Alejandro Encinas also announced that a National Forensic Diagnostic is being developed and that a report on the registration of clandestine graves, bodies and sites will be delivered every two weeks to the public security cabinet, verifying the information coming from the prosecutor’s offices. “Although this is a phenomenon that has been in the country for many years, the information was always hidden or minimized. However, it was sent to the marasmus of statistical data, where the data of forced disappearance or disappearance by individuals were mixed with the data of homicides committed every day”, he said.
Civil society organizations expressed their approval for the presentation of the first National Registry of Clandestine and Mass Graves. They made their methods and information public, and made a series of recommendations for the next steps in the preparation of the registry asking for “transparency” and “generating certainty in the figures: the main problem that have faced organizations is the lack of rigor that exists on the part of the State in terms of figures on graves. The same authority reports contradictory information with itself and with other institutions. This generates mistrust regarding the figures and the methodologies used to prepare them.” They called for citizen participation to be promoted: “in this subject of public interest it is essential to guarantee public scrutiny in the construction of information sources.”
For more information in Spanish:
Suman 222 fosas en cinco meses; son herencia de una política equivocada: AMLO (Proceso, 14 de mayo de 2019)
Identifican 337 cuerpos en 222 fosas clandestinas (La Jornada, 14 de mayo de 2019)
Encinas reporta 222 fosas clandestinas y 337 cuerpos sin identificar (Regeneración, 14 de mayo de 2019)
Organizaciones de la sociedad civil ofrecen al Gobierno federal su información sobre fosas clandestinas (Centro PRODH, 15 de mayo de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ: National: Mothers Demand Whereabouts of their Disappeared on 7th National March for Dignity (May 16, 2019)