Responses to Information Requests

Responses to Information Requests (RIR) respond to focused Requests for Information that are submitted to the Research Directorate in the course of the refugee protection determination process. The database contains a seven-year archive of English and French RIRs. Earlier RIRs may be found on the UNHCR's Refworld website. Please note that some RIRs have attachments which are not electronically accessible. To obtain a PDF copy of an RIR attachment, please email the Knowledge and Information Management Unit.

 

26 September 2013

MEX104542.E

Mexico: Kidnappings for ransom, including the types of kidnapping, protection available to victims, the effectiveness of anti-kidnapping measures, and complicity of police officers (July 2009-August 2013)

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview
1.1 Rates of Kidnapping for Ransom

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the President of the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal, CCSPJP), a research institution that focuses on the issue of kidnapping in Mexico by conducting research, proposing policies, and providing legal assistance to victims, said that kidnapping is the biggest public security problem faced by Mexico (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013). Some sources indicate that Mexico has the highest rate of kidnapping in the world (ibid.; Le Parisien 15 Oct. 2012), however, other sources indicate that it has the second-highest rate of kidnapping (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; Animal Político 25 Jan. 2013). Animal Político , a Mexican-based digital newspaper ( Animal Político n.d.), adds that Nigeria is the only country with a higher rate of kidnapping (ibid.).

A September 2010 Mexican Congressional report states that, between 2005 and 2010, kidnappings increased by 317 percent (Mexico Sept. 2010, 3). The Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública) lists the numbers of kidnappings nationally between 2010 and 2013, provided by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) in coordination with state attorney general offices:

  • 1,236 in 2010 (Mexico 7 May 2012);
  • 1,344 in 2011 (Mexico 20 May 2013);
  • 1,317 in 2012 (Mexico 22 Aug. 2013);
  • 911 between 1 January and 21 August 2013 (Mexico 21 Aug. 2013);

However, the President of the CCSPJP said that in 2012, there were 3,150 [translation] "high impact" [translation] kidnappings that were either reported to the PGR or state attorney general offices, or that were resolved by the military (29 Aug. 2013). According to a document published by the Research Institute on Security (Instituto de estudios en seguridad) at the Galileo University in Guatemala, "high impact" crimes are those that have a lasting effect on a population (Claveria Jan. 2011, 20). The President of the CCSPJP indicated that this statistic does not include "high impact" kidnappings that were not reported, express kidnappings [see section 2.1 below], and the kidnapping of migrants (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013). The President of the CCSPJP said that, in 2012, Mexico had the [translation] "highest number of kidnappings in its history" (ibid.). Agencia EFE reports that, according to the Director of the Council for Law and Human Rights (Consejo para la Ley y los Derechos Humanos), a group that [translation] "provides assistance to victims of kidnappings, conducts studies about security and investigates cases of corruption within the state security forces," an average of 72 people a day were kidnapped in Mexico in 2012, not including incidents of express kidnapping (20 Dec. 2012).

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that if the rates of kidnapping in the first 7 months of 2013 remain consistent, there will be a higher rate of kidnappings in 2013 than in 2012 (29 Aug. 2013). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an Associate Researcher at Chihuahua University (Colegio de Chihuahua), who has conducted research on drug trafficking organizations, especially in Juarez, Chihuahua, indicated that from January to April 2013, there was a 23 percent increase of kidnappings from the previous 4 months (23 Aug. 2013).

The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 indicates that kidnapping remained a "serious and underreported problem for persons of all socio-economic levels" in Mexico (US 19 Apr. 2013, 4). Animal Político reports that, according to a researcher from the Development Research Centre (Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo), an independent research centre that conducts analysis and proposes policies related to democracy and economics (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas n.d.), kidnappers do not only target people with high social statuses, but also those from the middle and lower socio-economic classes (14 May 2013). Similarly, the President of the CCSPJP indicated that the majority of kidnapping victims have a middle or low socio-economic status (29 Aug. 2013).

Sources report that many kidnappings go unreported (Mexico Sept. 2010, 3; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). A September 2010 Mexican Congressional report states that 75 percent of abductions are not reported (Mexico Sept. 2010, 3). Sources indicate that for every one case of kidnapping reported to the authorities, five are unreported (UNAM n.d.; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). Sources indicate that people are afraid of reporting kidnappings (ibid.; AI June 2013, 4).

1.2 States with Highest Occurrence of Kidnapping

The President of the CCSPJP stated that the highest rates of kidnapping are in the following municipalities:

Municipality State
Tampico Tamaulipas
Victoria Tamaulipas
Zacatecas Zacatecas
Morelia Michoacán
Cuernavaca Morelos
El Mante Tamaulipas
Cárdenas Tabasco
Zitácuaro Michoacán
Durango Durango
Acapulco Guerrero
San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec Oaxaca
Uruapan Michoacán
Tepic Nayarit
Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas
Solidaridad Quintana Roo
Ciudad Madero Tamaulipas
Comalcalco Tabasco
Oaxaca de Juárez Oaxaca
Hidalgo del Parral Chihuahua
Centro Tabasco

(CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013).

In February 2013, Amnesty International (AI) reported that, according to the government's official database of missing persons, the majority of reported kidnappings occurred in the Federal District, as well as in the states of Mexico, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Jalisco and Coahuila (AI June 2013, 5). The Associate Researcher indicated that the highest rates of kidnappings occur in Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Morelos and Guerrero, which he explained are also centres of drug trafficking (23 Aug. 2013). Similarly, AI states that, according to their information, the highest level of disappearances occur in states with "high levels of criminal violence and intensified police and security force presence," such as Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Michoacán and Guerrero (June 2013, 5). However, AI adds that this may be due to the presence of human rights organizations who document cases in these states, as relatives have faced "even greater challenges to pursuing their cases" in states where human rights organizations were weaker (June 2013, 5). Agencia EFE reports that, according to the Director of the Council for Law and Human Rights, many kidnappings also occur in regions that do not have a strong presence of drug cartels (20 Dec. 2012).

The Associate Researcher indicated that the highest rates of kidnapping in 2011 and 2012 were in the following states: Veracruz, Nuevo León, Nayarit, Coahuila, Hidalgo, and Mexico (23 Aug. 2013). The US Congressional Research Service reports that kidnappings and other crimes have "dramatically increased" in Monterrey (US 15 Apr. 2013, 30).

2. Types of Kidnapping
2.1 Express Kidnapping

Express kidnappings occur when victims are taken for a short period of time and kidnappers attempt to obtain money from them quickly (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; UNAM n.d.; Federal District n.d.). Sources indicate that victims are usually taken for "hours" (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). Two sources state that sometimes the victims are taken to a bank machine to withdraw money and sometimes their relatives are contacted for a ransom (ibid.; Federal District n.d.). The President of the CCSPJP indicated that the ransom collected usually amounts to less than 5,000 dollars (29 Aug. 2013). Similarly, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM) also states that ransoms are usually small amounts of money (n.d.). The Associate Researcher said that, at times, kidnappers take the victim's possessions, such as televisions and furniture (23 Aug. 2013).

Sources state that the perpetrators of express kidnappings are usually not kidnapping professionals (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; UNAM n.d.). The Associate Researcher added that express kidnappings are not usually conducted by the "main sources of violence in Mexico," which are the security forces and drug trafficking organizations, but that they are usually conducted by "small groups" (23 Aug. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. The Washington Post reports that, according to a consultant with Altegrity Risk International, a negotiation service based in New York, amateurs are "'more dangerous than more sophisticated groups'" because of their fear and unpredictability (26 Feb. 2011). Sources state that express kidnappings are often violent (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; UNAM n.d.). The Associate Researcher also said that, most of the time, victims of express kidnappings are released after the kidnappers receive the ransom (23 Aug. 2013).

2.2 Kidnapping for Extortion

According to the Associate Researcher, kidnapping for extortion occurs when people are kidnapped for long periods of time (for months or years, for example) and the kidnappers demand a ransom from the victim's relatives (23 Aug. 2013). UNAM indicates that the objective is to obtain a ransom (n.d.). The Associate Researcher indicated that the negotiations are "complex" and often involve requests for more ransoms after the initial ransom has been paid (23 Aug. 2013).

The Associate Researcher said that, "many times," the victims of kidnapping for extortion are killed, even if their relatives have paid the ransom (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). The President of the CCSPJP indicated that some kidnapping victims are raped, tortured, mutilated and killed (29 Aug. 2013). The Washington Post reports that, according to US authorities and kidnapping experts, victims are being increasingly tortured and mutilated, and some victims' families receive the victims' detached body parts in the mail (26 Feb. 2011).

The Associate Researcher said that the perpetrators of kidnapping for extortion are usually professionals, including drug traffickers (23 Aug. 2013).

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that "high impact" kidnappings last from days to months, and the ransom requested is usually more than 5,000 dollars (29 Aug. 2013).

2.3 Collective Kidnapping

The Associate Researcher explained that collective kidnapping consists of kidnapping a group of people for ransom (23 Aug. 2013). Sources indicate that collective kidnapping occurs less than other types of kidnapping (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; UNAM n.d.).

Sources report on the collective kidnapping of migrants (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; The Telegraph 16 July 2013). The President of the CCSPJP said that the collective kidnapping of migrants is exclusively committed by large criminal groups, mostly "Los Zetas" [a drug trafficking organization (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013)], and the local bands that serve them (29 Aug. 2013). The Associate Researcher also said that "Los Zetas" is the main perpetrator of collective kidnapping, however he added that they are not the only perpetrators (23 Aug. 2013). He stated that in the "war between drug-trafficking organizations," it is sometimes difficult to ascertain which group is responsible for a collective kidnapping (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). UNAM indicates that perpetrators of collective kidnapping may be thieves that take hostages as a way to escape (n.d.).

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that approximately 20,000 migrants are kidnapped annually in Mexico (29 Aug. 2013). Sources indicate that migrants are kidnapped for the purpose of obtaining a ransom from their relatives (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; US 19 Apr. 2013, 4, 5). Country Reports 2012 indicates that kidnappers also abduct migrants in order to force migrants to commit crimes on their behalf (ibid., 5).

The Associate Researcher added that collective kidnappings occur most frequently in Tamaulipas and Veracruz, followed by Nuevo León, and there have been cases in Sinaloa and Chihuahua (30 Aug. 2013). The President of the CCSPJP indicated that the following states have the highest incidence of kidnapping of migrants: Tabasco, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Chiapas (29 Aug. 2013). The Associate Researcher also indicated that there have been cases of collective kidnapping of migrants in Chiapas and Tabasco (30 Aug. 2013).

2.4 Virtual Kidnapping

Virtual kidnapping occurs when nobody is actually kidnapped, but the perpetrators contact a person's relative and tell them that they have kidnapped that person (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013; Federal District n.d.; UNAM n.d). Virtual kidnapping usually occurs if the perpetrator knows that someone will be out of touch or out of town (ibid.; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). Sources indicate that the perpetrators of virtual kidnappings are usually prisoners (ibid.; UNAM n.d.). Sources indicate the ways that prisoners find victims for viritual kidnapping include: receiving a tip (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013) and making random calls (ibid.; UNAM n.d.).

3. Perpetrators of Kidnapping

Sources indicate that perpetrators of kidnappings include:

  • drug trafficking organizations (US 12 June 2013, 2; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013);
  • criminal gangs (AI June 2013, 2);
  • local mafias (Guerrero-Gutiérrez 2011, 10) or small groups (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013);
  • [translation] "hit men" (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013);
  • [translation] "left-wing terrorist groups" (ibid.);
  • private individuals (AI June 2013, 2).

The International Crisis Group indicates that criminal groups such as La Barredora, the Independent Cartel of Acapulco, Knights Templar, and the Beltrán Leyva organization have kidnapped and extorted people, including "poor shopkeepers, workers and farmers" (28 May 2013, 8).

3.1 Complicity of State Authorities

Several sources report on the complicity of state authorities in kidnappings (US 19 Apr. 2013, 4; CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; Agencia EFE 20 Dec. 2012). Sources report that state authorities complicit in kidnapping include:

  • police (US 19 Apr. 2013, 25; CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013) and former police (Mexico Sept. 2010, 5), including municipal, state, and federal police officers (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013);
  • security forces (Mexico Sept. 2010, 5; AI June 2013, 6; Agencia EFE 20 Dec. 2012);
  • "public officials" (AI June 2013, 4);
  • governors and municipal leaders in cases of collective kidnapping of migrants (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013);
  • employees of the National Migration Institution (Instituto Nacional de Migración) in cases of collective kidnapping of migrants (Associate Researcher 30 Aug. 2013; CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013).

A September 2010 Mexican Congressional report states that former or current Mexican soldiers or police officers were involved in 22 percent of kidnappings (Mexico Sept. 2010, 5). The President of the CCSPJP estimated that police are directly or indirectly involved in one-third of high impact and express kidnappings (29 Aug. 2013). Agencia EFE reports that, according to the Council for Law and Human Rights, police or the military are involved in 70 to 80 percent of kidnappings, for example, by giving the perpetrators information on the victims, protecting the kidnappers or actively participating in the crime (20 Dec. 2012). AI states that, out of 152 cases of disappearance that they documented in seven states, "in at least 85 cases there is sufficient evidence of the involvement of public officials for them [the cases] to constitute crimes of enforced disappearance under international law" (June 2013, 4).

Country Reports 2012 indicates that there are "credible reports of police involvement in kidnappings for ransom, primarily at the state and local level," and says that according to the Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos), police

were involved in kidnapping, extortion, and in providing protection for, or acting directly on behalf of, organized crime and drug traffickers. Local forces in particular tended to be poorly compensated and directly pressured by criminal groups, leaving them most vulnerable to infiltration. (US 19 Apr. 2013, 25)

Other sources also indicate that police officers have provided protection for kidnappers (CCSPJP 29 Aug. 2013; Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013).

The CCSPJP compiled 20 media articles from the first seven months of 2013 showing 20 cases in which police were directly implicated in kidnapping (29 Aug. 2013). The Associate Researcher indicated that drug trafficking organizations, gangs, and police forces sometimes work together to kidnap people, such as in the city of Juarez, Chihuahua (30 Aug. 2013). He said that the extent of cooperation between police officers, drug trafficking organizations and gangs varies from region to region (30 Aug. 2013). He added that in certain places, such as the Federal District, the State of Mexico, and Morelos, the perpetrators of kidnappings are, besides drug trafficking organizations, collaborative groups of police officers and kidnapping gangs working together (30 Aug. 2013).

4. State Protection
4.1 General Law to Prevent and Punish Crimes of Kidnapping

The General Law to Prevent and Punish Crimes of Kidnapping ( Ley General para Prevenir y Sacionar los Delitos den Materia de Secuestro, Reglamentaria de la Fracción XXI del Artículo 73 de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos ) was published in the Official Journal of the Federation on 30 November 2010 and amended on 27 February 2011 (Mexico 2011). See Attachment 1 for selected articles of The General Law to Prevent and Punish Crimes of Kidnapping. The penalties for kidnapping outlined in the General Law range depending on the circumstances of the crime (Mexico 2011, 4). For example, Article 11 and Article 12 state the following:

[translated by the Translation Bureau]

Article 11. If the life of the victim of the crimes provided for in the present Law is taken by the perpetrators or accomplices thereof, they shall be given a sentence of forty to seventy years in prison and six thousand to twelve thousand days' fine.

Article 12 - If the victim of the kidnapping is spontaneously released within three days of the deprivation of his freedom, without having achieved any of the purposes referred to in Article 9 of this Law and without any circumstances aggravating the crime have occurred, the penalty shall be from two to six years in prison and fifty to one hundred fifty days' fine. (Mexico 2011, 4)

For more penalties for kidnapping included in the General Law to Prevent and Punish Crimes of Kidnapping, see Attachment 1.

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that, in most cases, kidnappers that have been detained receive elevated sentences as per the law (CCSPJP 2 Sept. 2013). He said that there are more than 12,000 kidnappers in prison, most of whom have already been given long prison sentences (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The President of the CCSPJP added that there are also kidnappers who do not face justice, mostly hit men for large criminal groups, since they die in clashes either with government forces or with other criminals or are executed by their bosses (ibid.). He said that impunity for police officers who are directly or indirectly involved in the crime is higher than that of kidnappers (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that, most of the time, police officers that have been detained for their direct complicity in kidnapping are punished according to the law (ibid). However, he indicated that, in most cases, police who are complicit in kidnappings are not detained, especially those who are indirectly complicit (ibid.). He added that approximately 12 percent of the people detained for kidnapping are police or former police, but most of them were detained due to their direct complicity, rather than their indirect complicity (ibid.). Similarly, El Universal, a Mexican newspaper circulated throughout Mexico (Factiva n.d.b), reports that, according to state attorney offices, in 12 percent of kidnappings, police or former police are involved (5 Mar. 2010). The President of the CCSPJP said that the police that enjoy the most impunity are the ones that provide protection for large criminal groups (CCSPJP 2 Sept. 2013).

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that the General Law to Prevent and Punish Crimes of Kidnapping is a [translation] "large failure" because, since it came into force, kidnappings have doubled in the country (2 Sept. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4.2 Anti-kidnapping Measures

On 25 November 2008, the Federal District's Official Gazette (Gaceta oficial del distrito federal) published plans to create an anti-kidnapping unit called "Fuerza Antisecuestro." This unit aims to prevent and combat kidnapping and extortion through tactical analysis, investigation, specialized investigation and negotiations (Federal District 25 Nov. 2008). While Milenio, a Mexico City-based newspaper (Milenio n.d.), reported on 22 August 2012 that anti-kidnapping units had not yet been formed in all states, other media sources report that anti-kidnapping units exist in all states in Mexico (NorteDigital 27 Aug. 2013; Sipse.com 13 Nov. 2010). On 31 October 2011, El Informador, a daily newspaper based in Guadalajara, Jalisco (El Informador 5 Sept. 2013), indicated that there were [translation] "only" 1,255 people working in anti-kidnapping units across Mexico, ranging from public servants, experts, and police officers. El Informador also reports that, according to the Ministry of Public Security, between January 2010 and September 2011, federal and state authorities attended to 3,114 cases of kidnappings, of which 2,610 victims were released and an average of 143 people per month were detained (31 Oct. 2011). The president of the Democratic Revolution Party (Partido de la Revolución Democrática), an opposition party (Reuters 19 Aug. 2013), reportedly indicated that anti-kidnapping units are one of the best functioning state administration units (La Parada Digital 24 Sept. 2012). However, the President of the CCSPJP indicated that the anti-kidnapping law has failed because some of the anti-kidnapping units are not functioning as they were intended to (2 Sept. 2013). He also said that even where the anti-kidnapping units are functioning, the number of kidnappings, as well as the [translation] "cruelty" of the kidnappings, is still increasing (CCSPJP 2 Sept. 2013). Excelsior, a Federal District-based newspaper, reports that, according to Alto al Secuestro, an NGO that helps victims of kidnapping (Alto al Secuestro n.d.), anti-kidnapping units in Morelos are not producing results, and are lacking equipment, preparation, and human capital (22 Apr. 2013). El Informador reports that, according to the National Council of Public Security (Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Pública), 15 out of 64 members of the anti-kidnapping unit in Jalisco did not pass testing (physical, psychological, toxicology and polygraph tests as well as the socio-economic exam which sought to establish that their assets correspond to their income) (8 Feb. 2012). Sources report anti-kidnapping units did not accept complaints of relatives of the 12 people kidnapped from Heavens Bar in May 2013 (Reforma 22 June 2013; Milenio 22 June 2013). Heavens Bar is located in Mexico City (NPR 13 June 2013; BBC 26 Aug. 2013). Sources indicate that the kidnapping victims in this case were killed (ibid.; Processo 5 Sept. 2013).

Sources indicate that a national registry of telephone users (Registro Nacional de Usuarios de Telefonía) was created in an attempt to reduce kidnapping and other crimes (Registro Nacional n.d.; CCSPJP 2 Sept. 2013). The National Registry aims to reduce crime by gaining control of who is using cellular phone lines (Registro Nacional n.d.). The President of the CCSPJP indicated that kidnappers have found ways of getting around this registry, such as by robbing telephones, registering with false information, and using the telephones of their victims (2 Sept. 2013). He added that the database of the telephone registration system ended up in the hands of criminals (CCSPJP 2 Sept. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

4.3 Effectiveness of State Protection

The President of the CCSPJP indicated that there is no state protection for kidnapping in Mexico (29 Aug. 2013). The Associate Researcher indicated that state protection for kidnapping is "weak" and that state efforts to implement programs and provide protection for kidnapping have not had any result (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). He added that victims of kidnappings are offered [translation] "little" or no psychological assistance, and explained that since kidnappings are not usually reported, the government is unaware of the existence of these victims (ibid.).

According to the Associate Researcher, there are no clear statistics about the outcome of kidnapping cases, as statistics provided by authorities are not consistent (23 Aug. 2013). On 10 July 2013, ANSA, a Spanish-language news source based in Italy (Factiva n.d.a), reported that federal forces, with the assistance of the military and the federal police, freed 23 people and detained 49 kidnappers in raids that were conducted in 9 states (10 July 2013). AI states that, of 297 reported cases of disappearance in Coahuila and 369 in Nuevo León, "the whereabouts of only a handful" of victims have been established (June 2013, 4).

AI indicates that the states of Coahuila and Nuevo León have discussed the issue of kidnappings with human rights organizations and relatives of victims, and have committed "to begin to address disappearances" (June 2013, 2, 14). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to AI, "a range of authorities and institutions" have refused to investigate cases of disappearance brought to their attention by the victim's relatives (AI June 2013, 5). AI says that, in most states, many relatives reporting disappearances have been prevented from registering a formal complaint (11); according to these relatives of victims, authorities refused to register cases and told the relatives to return in 72 hours, or sent them to different authorities (ibid.). AI also said that families who were able to "provide immediate evidence of violent abduction by identified perpetrators were able to lodge a formal complaint," but families that did not have such evidence had to pressure authorities to formally register a complaint for "months" (ibid., 11, 12). AI reports that, according to an analysis conducted by a national newspaper, criminal inquiries had not been opened in 40 percent of the 26,121 cases studied (ibid., 11). AI states that human rights commissions have "routinely refused to assist families, particularly if they could not demonstrate the direct involvement of public officials, even though there is evidence that police and prosecutors have failed to fulfil their legal duties to conduct full investigations" (ibid., 5). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

AI says that there is a climate in which kidnappings are "tolerated" (ibid., 2), and adds that perpetrators enjoy "almost complete impunity" (ibid., 6). The Associate Researcher said that, although the state has attempted to help victims of kidnappings in high profile cases, it "has not provided any protection" in most cases (Associate Researcher 23 Aug. 2013). AI adds that the "vast majority" of cases that they have documented show a "lack of due diligence by the authorities to locate the victim, to investigate the circumstances of the disappearance, and to respect the rights of relatives" (AI June 2013, 4). AI adds that "cases have routinely been archived or left inactive without any meaningful efforts to take the case forward" (ibid., 12). AI states that in many cases, authorities have told relatives that the victim "must have been involved in criminal activity in order to be targeted by a criminal group," to dissuade relatives from pursuing the case further (ibid., 6).

Sources indicate that people do not trust the authorities (Agencia EFE 20 Dec. 2012; The Washington Post 26 Feb. 2011). AI states that "relatives have had to report disappearances to those they suspect of involvement in the abduction" (June 2013, 7). The Associate Researcher said that, since police themselves may be involved in the kidnapping, reporting these kidnappings to the police can be dangerous (23 Aug. 2013). The President of the CCSPJP said that some of the people who have reported kidnapping have been killed (29 Aug. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Sources indicate that some people investigate kidnappings on their own (Agencia EFE 20 Dec. 2012; AI June 2013, 6). AI adds that some relatives who were investigating kidnappings were warned by authorities to "leave the region or face reprisals" (ibid., 7). The International Crisis Group reports on groups of people forming "vigilante squads" to fight kidnapping and other crimes (28 May 2013, 12). The Washington Post reports that wealthy Mexican families and US companies hire private American firms to rescue kidnapping victims (26 Feb. 2011). Similarly, Agencia EFE reports that, according to the Director of the Council of Law and Human Rights, some people hire independent negotiators (20 Dec. 2012).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agencia EFE. 20 December 2012. "Registra México 72 secuestros diarios en 2012: ONG." <http://www.milenio.com/cdb/doc/noticias2011/9c1f11847d89ac14cdb137d6a4c753e7> [Accessed 28 Aug. 2013]

Alto al Secuestro. N.d. "Misión." <http://www.altoalsecuestro.com.mx/Mision.htm> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

Amnesty International (AI). June 2013. Confronting a Nightmare: Disappearances in Mexico. (AMR 41/025/2013) <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR41/025/2013/en/d7198cc0-93d1-4021-a6b8-b098805ddeaf/amr410252013en.pdf> [Accessed 26 Aug. 2013]

Animal Político. 14 May 2013. " Secuestro y no homicidio, lo que más temen los mexicanos: CIDAC ". <http://www.animalpolitico.com/2013/05/secuestro-y-no-homicidio-delito-que-mas-inseguridad-genera-a-mexicanos-cidac/#axzz2f9x2IU4F> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

_____. 25 January 2013. "México, 2o lugar mundial en secuestros." <http://www.animalpolitico.com/2013/01/la-inseguridad-se-mantendra-como-el-principal-riesgo-durante-el-gobierno-de-pena-control-risks/#axzz2e8BJ0ZP2> [Accessed 6 Sept. 2013]

____. N.d. "Quiénes somos." <http://www.animalpolitico.com/quienes-somos/#axzz2eP8M4oV3> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

ANSA. 10 July 2013. "México-secuestros: liberan 23 personas, 49 detenidos." (Factiva)

Associate Researcher, Colegio de Chihuahua. 30 August 2013. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

_____. 23 August 2013. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 26 August 2013. "Mexico Heaven Bar Disappearance: More Bodies Identified." <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23840046> [Accessed 28 Aug. 2013]

Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas. N.d. "Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C." <http://seguridadpublica.cide.edu/> [Accessed 17 Sept. 2013]

Claveria, Julio Rivera. January 2011. El crimen organizado . Instituto de estudios en seguridad, Universidad Galileo. <http://www.galileo.edu/ies/files/2011/04/EL_CRIMEN_ORGANIZADO-IES.pdf> [Accessed 23 Sept. 2013}

Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (CCSPJP). 2 September 2013. Correspondence from the President to the Research Directorate.

_____. 29 August 2013. Correspondence from the President to the Research Directorate.

Excelsior. 22 April 2013. Pedro Tonantzin. "A Graco se le acaba el tiempo para dar resultados: Wallace." <http://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/2013/04/22/895320> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

Factiva. N.d.a. "ANSA." <http://www.dowjones.com/factiva/sources.asp> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

_____. N.d.b. "El Universal." <http://www.dowjones.com/factiva/sources.asp> [Accessed 9 Sept. 2013]

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_____. N.d. Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal. "Preguntas frecuentes." <http://www.pgjdf.gob.mx/temas/1-4-1/index.php?tema=Secuestro&idw3_contenidos=9> [Accessed 20 Aug. 2013]

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following individuals and organizations were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: Centro de Apoyo Sociojurídico a Víctimas de Delito Violento; Centro de Atención a Personas Extraviadas y Ausentes; Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal; Comité Médico Ciudadano; Dirección General de Atención a Víctimas del Delito; Dirección General de Derechos Humanos; Dirección General de Política y Estadística Criminal; Fondo para la Atención y Apoyo a las Víctimas del Delito; Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios sobre la Inseguridad; Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal; Procuraduría Social del Distrito Federal; Secretaría de Seguridad Pública;Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México. A representative of the State Human Rights Commission in Chihuahua was unable to provide information for this Response.

Internet sites, including: ecoi.net; Factiva; Legislationline; Mexico – Secretaría de Seguridad Pública; Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal; United Nations – Refworld.

Attachment

1. Mexico. 2011. Ley general para prevenir y sacionar los delitos en materia de secuestro, reglamentaria de la fracción XXI del artículo 73 de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Articles 9, 10, 16, 17, 18. <http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/LGPSDMS.pdf> [Accessed 20 Aug. 2013] Translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada.

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