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Mexico Human Rights Commission: Disappearances A 'Serious' Problem

Image: Protest over 43 Mexican missing students
File photo of relatives of 43 Mexican missing students holding pictures of the victims during a protest with teachers as they mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Mexican revolutionary and schoolteacher Lucio Cabanas in front of Government Palace in Chilpancingo, Mexico, 02 December 2014. LENIN OCAMPO TORRES / EPA

Mexico has a "serious problem" with disappearances and has no clear mechanism nor transparent national registry to figure how many people are missing, according to a report to be presented to the United Nations on Monday by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission.

The group will ask the United Nations' Committee on Enforced Disappearances, based in Geneva, Switzerland, to make recommendations to Mexico, according to documents shown to the Associated Press.

The latest official figures puts the number missing at around 23,271. Mexico's Attorney General's Office Search Unit is investigating the disappearances of 621 missing people.

The human rights commission's report stated that the "impunity" around forced disappearances in the 1970s and 1980s created the conditions existing today. Last September, 43 college students disappeared in southern Guerrero state after being taken by local authorities associated with local crime gangs. The government said the students were killed and several local officials have been arrested, though only one student's remains has been officially identified.

A group from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is meeting to prepare a plan to help investigate the students' disappearances in Guerrero, reports Telesur.

The commission is asking the government to searching and identify remains found in graves and create a national, unified registry using a genetic registry.

The attorney general and six of Mexico's 32 regions have begun working on a unified database, but the process is slow. For example, as of last September, Mexico City's Federal District, one of the most capable regions, had only entered data for 20 of the 13,000 unidentified bodies it has in its files.


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--The Associated Press contributed to this report.