Guerrero, Mexico: Authorities respond with inefficiency, incompetence, and discrimination to the serious phenomenon of disappearances of women and girls


Mexico and the State of Guerrero face an extreme crisis of gender-based violence, which is intrinsically related to the reproduction of a patriarchal and sexist culture. Between 2018 and 2022, 17,000 women were victims of femicide; currently, 26,952 women remain missing in the country.

Geneva, Switzerland / Mexico City, Mexico. September 11, 2023. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Litigio Estratégico en Derechos Humanos (IDHEAS), and the Equipo Mexicano de Antropología Forense (EMAF), with technical assistance from Justice Rapid Response (JRR), present an alternative report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

The report, produced in the framework of the Working Group prior to the 88th session of the Committee, based on a fact-finding mission carried out in Guerrero, denounces the Mexican state’s failure to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), regarding disappearances of women and girls in the State of Guerrero.

Guerrero exemplifies the gravity of the crimes committed

In a context led by organised crime and the war on drugs in the country, the State of Guerrero has alarming rates of gender-based violence. Currently, there are 712 disappeared women in Guerrero, while in 2022, Guerrero reached a record of 123 complaints of gender violence, 106 rapes, and 554 complaints of domestic violence.

However, there is a lack of visibility of the phenomenon of disappearances of girls and women in Guerrero at a regional, national, and international levels, which translates into a situation of almost total impunity.

"It is crucial to consider that the disappearance of girls and women is rooted in a context of extreme violence and insecurity, linked to the growth of organized crime groups and a patriarchal system", said Diana Palencia, Director of IDHEAS.

The information gathered during the mission indicates that the disappearance of women in Guerrero is widespread, due to its high rates, the variety of geographical areas where it occurs, and the diversity of the causes (trafficking, prostitution, and exploitation, among others).

Impunity, disinformation, and institutional inefficiency

The evidence collected by the mission demonstrated the serious state of impunity that exists in the region. In more than 60 years, there has not been a single sentence for the disappearance of a girl or woman in Guerrero, and at most one arrest warrant for the disappearance of a woman.

In many cases, it is the same authorities who act in a discriminatory way towards the victims, expressing sexist comments and even blaming them for the crimes committed against them.

"In Guerrero there is an additional situation of violence, where women disappear for reasons of their gender and, in addition, are stigmatised and re-victimised by authorities who lack training focused on victims’ rights and gender, and who perpetuate a situation of sexism and almost complete impunity", said Jimena Reyes, FIDH Director of the Americas.

The forensic crisis is another element that runs through the search for justice in cases of disappearances in Guerrero and throughout the country. Practices and procedures contrary to national and international standards on exhumation, recovery, custody, identification, notification, and handing over the deceased remains to relatives persist.

Issa Hernández Herrera, Civil Society Program Officer, Justice Rapid Response, assures that "we will continue to support civil society organisations, which contribute to the ecosystem of international justice and promote the rights of victims and their families".

Violations of CEDAW

The report submitted to CEDAW identifies, among others, discrimination by Guerrero authorities, violation of the right to remedies and access to justice in cases of disappearances, and insufficient measures to respond to gender-based violence, including disappearances and trafficking of women and exploitation of prostitution, and to modify a patriarchal and sexist culture.

Read the full report in English below :

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