The first attempts in Mexico and Central America to address the phenomenon of missing and disappeared migrants

International Review of the Red Cross (2017), 99 (2), 735–757. The missing. doi:10.1017/S1816383118000346
Gabriella Citroni
Publication Year
The Americas
Thematic Area
Families / Law & Policies / Mechanisms / The Search Process
Burial Site / Mass Grave / Enforced Disappearance / Family Needs / Identification / Migration / Recovery of remains / Excavation / Exhumation
Open access

The phenomenon of missing migrants, including victims of enforced disappearance, presents exceptional challenges due to its specific features and transnational scope. This article analyzes the case of missing and disappeared migrants in Mexico and illustrates the obstacles faced by their families, mostly residing in Central America, in their efforts to establish the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and to obtain justice and redress. The article describes the process which led to the establishment of three mechanisms – a Forensic Commission, an Investigative Unit on Crimes against Migrants and an External Mechanism of Support for Search and Investigation – that aim at providing innovative responses and tackling the transnational dimension of the issue. The first significant achievements are presented, along with the remaining pitfalls.