Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico: Thousands missing in drugs war says CNDH

Relatives of Adriana Morlett who disappeared six months ago after leaving the university campus
Relatives of the disappeared hold vigils to draw attention to their plight

A Mexican human rights organisation says thousands of people have disappeared in Mexico since 2006.

Mexico's human rights commission, CNDH, said 5,397 people had been reported missing since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels.

A United Nations study has suggested the security forces may have played a part in the disappearance of some of those missing.

Mr Calderon has deployed 50,000 troops as part of his war on the cartels.

The CNDH collated data provided by relatives and by state authorities and included all of those "reported missing or absent".

The commission said 3,457 of those disappeared were men and 1,885 women, while there was no data on the remaining 55 cases.

The CNDH said it was investigating the reasons behind the disappearances, and stated that the figure included those kidnapped for ransom and economic migrants from within Mexico and Central America whose whereabouts were unknown.

The figures were released just days after the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said it had received reports of several cases of forced disappearances allegedly carried out by Mexican soldiers.

The UN group urged the Mexican government to stop using the army in drug operations.

President Calderon deployed the army in an effort to curb the violence perpetrated by the country's drug cartels in which more than 34,000 have been killed since he took office.

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