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Nearly 7,000 Mexicans reported as disappeared in 2020

January 29, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2019 file photo, relatives of the disappeared protest in front of the National Palace in Mexico City. Nearly 7,000 Mexicans were formally reported as disappeared in 2020, though that was a 22% decrease from a year earlier, the country’s top human rights official said Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2019 file photo, relatives of the disappeared protest in front of the National Palace in Mexico City. Nearly 7,000 Mexicans were formally reported as disappeared in 2020, though that was a 22% decrease from a year earlier, the country’s top human rights official said Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Nearly 7,000 Mexicans were formally reported as disappeared in 2020, though that was a 22% decrease from a year earlier, the country’s top human rights official said Friday.

Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas said the number of clandestine graves found dropped by third last year and the number of bodies recovered in those graves — 1,086 — fell by 18%.

More than half of those recovered bodies came in the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato, where the Jalisco New Generation cartel has been involved in violent territorial disputes. One municipality, El Salto, Jalisco, was the source of 189 bodies last year.

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Identifying and returning those bodies to their families continues to be a struggle. Of the 2,395 bodies recovered since the current administration took power in December 2018, 39% have been identified and nearly 22% returned to relatives.

Mexico officially has recorded more than 80,000 reported disappearances since 2006.

“Independently of the limitations that the pandemic has put on us, we have made the search for people an essential task that with limitations, following health norms, continues the length and breadth of the country as a priority signaled by the president,” Encinas said.