The spiralling violence in Mexico since the war on drugs began has seen the ‘disappeared’ in the country topping 100,000 for the first time.

Families of the victims of violence are pushing authorities to do more to find their loved ones, whose disappearances have been predominantly linked to organised crime.

In the last two years the numbers of those missing has risen sharply from around 73,000 people to more than 100,000, most of whom are men, according to the interior ministry’s national register of the “desaparecidos” — Spanish for missing people — which is periodically updated.

Mexico has seen spiralling violence since the war on drugs began in 2006, with over 350,000 people having died since then.

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A woman sells fruit on the street while displaying a missing person poster of missing teenager Pamela Cocina Rosales, 14, in Xochimilco, a municipality of Mexico City

Last year, the country of more than 129 million people saw 94 murders a day on average.

“It’s incredible that disappearances are still on the rise,” Virginia Garay, whose son went missing in 2018 in the state of Nayarit, told news agency Reuters.

Human rights organisations and relatives of the missing have called on the government to step up investigations and conduct searches more effectively.

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Araceli Hernandez, 50, who is looking for two of her missing sons, looks at at the Glorieta de los Desaparecidos (Roundabout of the Disappeared), in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico

“The government is not doing enough to find them,” said Garay, who works in a group called Warriors Searching for Our Treasures that seeks to locate missing loved ones.

Civil society groups that help try and locate missing people stress that many families do not report disappearances because of distrust in the authorities.

Relatives of the United Forces for Our Disappeared created an altar in memory of the victims in main square in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

The actual figure of missing people is therefore believed to be much higher than the official data.

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“Organised crime has become a central perpetrator of disappearance in Mexico, with varying degrees of participation, acquiescence or omission by public servants,” a report by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, released last month, said.

Protests in Mexico City for the missing people outside of Mexican National Palace

“State parties are directly responsible for enforced disappearances committed by public officials, but may also be accountable for disappearances committed by criminal organisations,” the report added.

The missing people include human rights defenders, some of whom went missing because of their own involvement in the fight against disappearances.

According to the UN committee, over 30 journalists have also disappeared in Mexico between 2003 and 2021.

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