The Forensic Crisis and Forced Disappearances

In a country where around 10,000 people go missing each year and where over 100,000 people are currently missing, it is vital to contribute to strengthening budgets for the public agencies that are responsible for addressing the forensic crisis and guaranteeing all people’s right to be searched for.

Therefore, we are advocating for a budget of approximately 40 million pesos to be allocated to the operation of the Extraordinary Forensic Identification Mechanism (MEIF, for its Spanish initials) in 2023, which contributes to making progress on identifying the over 52,000 unidentified deceased persons in Mexico’s forensic services and municipal mass graves. We also managed to gain a 40% increase in the National Search Commission’s (CNB, for its Spanish initials) budget—whose existence is an indicator of the violence we experience in Mexico; this will aid in the response to the country’s forced disappearance crisis.

In order to secure these resources, joint action with the victims’ collectives that form Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México (MNDM) and other organizations was fundamental; this includes Fundar, Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (SERAPAZ), and Centro de Colaboración Cívica (CCC), as well as dialogues between the CNB and the MEIF Coordinating Group, which made it possible to identify both agencies’ budgetary needs. At the same time, at Fundar, we conducted the study Presupuesto y crisis forense en México. Opacidad e insuficiencia del presupuesto en materia de identificación forense [The Forensic Budget and Crisis in Mexico. Lack of Transparency and Budget Shortfall in Matters of Forensic Identification], which traces the budget path and provides evidence on resource allocation for this problem.

With pressure from the victims, from international bodies (UN-HR, IACHR, and ICRC), and from Fundar, together we achieved a 40% increase in the CNB budget and saw that the 40 million pesos were granted to the MEIF’s operating budget for it to address forensic matters. In 2024, we will strive to get these resources earmarked on a congressional level, thus guaranteeing their specific allocation to these tasks, which can then be monitored in the annual expenditure.