Mothers and sisters of the Disappeared with masks that read "Donde Estan? Where Are They?"

Mexico’s Disappearance Strategy Risks Missing Persons Search

On December 14, 2023, the Mexican government unveiled the outcomes of their Disappeared Persons Search Strategy. Central to this strategy was the revision of the National Register of Missing and Disappeared Persons (RNPDNO), a comprehensive record of disappearances across the nation. In a significant move, the government reduced the official count of missing and disappeared individuals. However, this update also involved ambiguously categorizing about 80,000 people due to the lack of sufficient data to facilitate their search. In light of these developments, there is a strong call for the Mexican government to commit to transparency and actively involve the families of the disappeared in the process of preparing and updating the census.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the Minister of Interior urging her to:

  • Take necessary measures to ensure truth and justice for the victims of disappearances in Mexico.
  • Facilitate Active Participation of Victims’ Families in Census Preparation

Write to:

Minister Luisa María Alcalde Luján

Ministry of Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación)

Carretera Bucareli 99

Colonia Juárez, Cuauhtemoc

C.P. 06600

Ciudad de México


X: @Segob_mx

Salutation: Dear Minister,

And copy:

His Excellency Carlos Manuel Joaquin Gonzalez


Embassy of the United Mexican States

45 O’Connor Street, Suites 1000, 1010 and 1030

Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4

Tel: (613) 233-8988, -9272, -9917 / 613-795-1868 (24h) Fax: (613) 235-9123


Rising Numbers of Missing and Disappeared in Mexico

In 2023, Mexico continued to face a significant challenge with the high number of missing and forcibly disappeared individuals. The National Search Commission (CNB) reported at least 12,031 new cases that year. Breaking down these figures, 8,426 were men, 3,596 were women, and 9 remained unidentified. Since 1962, the total number of registered cases of missing and forcibly disappeared people reached 114,004 by the end of 2023. Sadly, relatives searching for their missing loved ones often encountered grave dangers, including the risk of enforced disappearance, murder, repression, and threats.

Mothers and sisters of the Disappeared with masks that read “Donde Estan? Where Are They?”

Controversy Over Government’s Disappearance Strategy

In May 2023, the federal government introduced a strategy aimed at addressing the disappearance crisis in Mexico. However, this move sparked controversy. On August 23, 2023, Karla Quintana, head of the CNB, resigned. This followed the president’s announcement of a new disappearance census, challenging the reliability and suggesting the exaggeration of CNB’s figures. Civil society groups and activists expressed concerns that the government might be attempting to reduce the official disappearance numbers to cover up the shortcomings of its public security policies.

On October 23, Teresa Guadalupe Reyes Sahagún took over as CNB’s new head. Her appointment raised eyebrows due to the lack of consultation and transparency in the selection process, and doubts about her experience.

Ongoing Concerns and Protests Against Mexico’s New Disappearance Census Strategy

The government revealed the results of the new disappearance census on December 14, showing a decrease in the official count of disappeared and missing persons from 1962 to August 2023. However, the census also admitted to insufficient data for searching 79,955 people, placing them in vague categories. Four days later, on December 18, families of the disappeared and missing protested against the National Search Strategy, alleging opacity and potential data manipulation.

Despite these protests and ongoing concerns, federal authorities stood by the National Search Strategy on December 27. The issues surrounding the census persisted, alongside worries about the dismantling of institutions tasked with locating the numerous missing individuals across the country.