Mexico must act immediately to tackle an alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances, facilitated by "almost absolute impunity" and in some cases involving public officials, a United Nations committee said Tuesday.
"Organised crime has become a central perpetrator of disappearance in Mexico, with varying degrees of participation, acquiescence or omission by public servants," the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances said.
The number of people registered as disappeared in Mexico stands at more than 95,000, including 112 who were added during the committee's visit from November 15 to 26, it said.
According to the National Register of Disappeared Persons, there were 8,000 new cases in each of the past five years, the report noted.
While men between 15 and 40 years old are most affected, disappearances of boys and girls from the age of 12, as well as of adolescents and women, are increasing, the committee said.
"Victims and authorities also reported disappearances for the purpose of trafficking and sexual exploitation," the report added.
The committee also voiced concern about the situation of human rights defenders, "some of whom have been disappeared because of their participation in searches and fighting against disappearances."
Of more than 30 journalists who disappeared between 2003 and 2021, none has been located, according to the report, which said its delegation had also heard allegations of disappearances in prisons and migration centres.
The committee found that "the alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances" was facilitated by "almost absolute impunity," a UN statement said, noting that fewer than six percent of cases had resulted in prosecutions.
The committee "urged Mexico to strengthen the search and investigation processes, provide adequate human and financial support to the National Search Commission" and "to remove obstacles to prosecutions."
Disappearances began during the Mexican authorities' battle against the revolutionary movements of the 1960s-1980s.
The number of people missing began to soar in the 2000s with increasing drug-related violence, particularly after then-president Felipe Calderón launched a military offensive against the cartels in 2006.