Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has signed a new law designed to help efforts in finding thousands of missing people. The law, signed on Thursday, will add 469 million pesos ($25 million) to assist in search efforts, reports Reuters. According to the National Human Rights Commission, more than 30,000 people have gone missing in Mexico over the last 50 years. More than 100,000 have died in Mexico’s violent drug war, reports Reuters.
Mass graves have become a common occurrence in Mexico in recent years. Authorities are often unable to identify the remains found in the graves, leaving families of the missing in the dark. The law will create a new database to collect forensic information relevant in the cases of the missing people. There are also new rules about the exhumation of victims. Special prosecutors will be appointed to handle missing persons cases.
“The disappearance of people is one of the greatest challenges facing our human rights and one of the most painful experiences anyone can suffer,” Peña Nieto told the press during the signing ceremony, according to Reuters.
Discussions surrounding the epidemic of missing people in Mexico reached international consciousness when 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College went missing from Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico in 2014. The Mexican government’s investigation, which put the blame on municipal police and a local drug gang, was put into question when several holes were found in the “official” story. Families of the students have been demanding answers from Peña Nieto and the Mexican government about their missing loved ones.
Mexico is still recovering from two devastating earthquakes the killed hundreds in September. Despite the recovery effort, Mexican officials have stated that there is enough money and support to implement the program. Reuters reports that the law will go into effect in 60 days.