Main official search for thousands of missing people in Mexico retire | Crime News

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Critics worry that the government could use statistics to show the appearance of progress in finding the missing Mexicans.

The head of a commission charged with finding tens of thousands of missing people in Mexico has resigned, as critics accuse the government of trying to undermining the true scale of the extinction.

Karla Quintana, head of the National Audit Commission, did not elaborate on the reasons for her resignation, saying only that she is leaving “due to the current situation”.

“The challenges of human extinction remain,” Quintana posted Wednesday on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter. “The State must continue to push for a comprehensive policy aimed at prevention, detection and combating punishment.”

Escalating cartel violence has engulfed large areas of the country, with thousands of Mexicans reported missing this year alone.

Populist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has recently been criticized for announcing that they would do an inventory of the disappeared country. Critics say this is a tactic to manipulate numbers and “show a false reduction” in those missing ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

More than 110,000 are still missing across the country, according to figures from the Quintana commission – possibly an undercount due to a lack of reporting, distrust of authorities and endemic independence. Many families of the disappeared have taken it upon themselves to seek justice, often with fatal consequences.

Lopez Obrador appeared to agree to leave on Wednesday; he appointed Quintana in 2019. When asked about his resignation at his press conference on Thursday morning, he said that he closed “a circle, and we are free”.

He said his government continues to make progress in finding those who have disappeared.

Last year, the special prosecutor leading the investigation into the infamous 2014 kidnapping of 43 students in southern Mexico resigned, citing disagreements with the Attorney General’s Office. International watchdogs said at the time that his unit lacked the support to gather evidence and conduct legal proceedings.

Meanwhile, human rights groups – including the Center for Human Rights Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez – expressed concerns about Quintana’s resignation, saying that Lopez Obrador’s moves would “set him back advances” made in the effort to find what was missing and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The work of Quintana and her team “puts a weak state institution on its feet”, shining a light on “the need to disappear while it was against prosecutors,” the center said.

The number of people disappeared in 2006 when the Mexican authorities declared war on the drug cartels. For years, the government looked the other way as violence escalated and the families of the missing were forced to act as investigators.

Since then, cartels in the country have broken into gangs and have been fighting each other for land, only deepening the violence.

In 2018, a law was passed that set the legal foundations for the government to establish a National Commission of Inquiry. Local commissions continued in each state; protocols that separated investigations from investigations; and a temporary and independent group of national and international technical experts supported by the United Nations to help clean up the remaining unknown remains.

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