Relatives of some of Mexico’s over 100,000 missing people marched through downtown Mexico City on Tuesday, August 30th, to demand authorities find their sons, daughters, parents, and siblings.
The protesters carried photos of the disappeared hanging from their necks, and chanted “Where are they? Our Children, Where are they?”
Many claimed that, rather than investigating the abductions, authorities are quick to assume that disappeared people might have been involved in illicit activities.
”Frequently, there are no investigations, re-victimizations. We continually face negligence and inaction,” said Miriam Jaqueline Palmeros, whose daughter Jael Monserrat Uribe disappeared two years ago and has never been seen since.
To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, family members mounted a panorama of photos of the missing and performed prayers, rituals, and songs for them. Most of the disappearances began after the start of Mexico’s drug war in 2006.
While abductions and disappearances sometimes involve street-level drug dealers picked up by rival gangs, the disappeared also include kidnap victims, passing motorists caught at drug cartel checkpoints, and witnesses to crimes or passersby.
Guillermo Fernández Maldonado, the Mexico representative for the U.N. Office on Human Rights, noted “these are really enormous numbers.”
“These are not like some situations that are in the past,” Fernández Maldonado said. “These are serious situations that continue to happen every day.”
The protesters demanded that authorities start searching earlier, within the first few hours after a disappearance, rather than waiting — as they often do — to see if a missing person shows up on their own.