Violence unleashed by organized crime has forced thousands of people in Mexico to abandon their homes, adding to the country’s internally displaced population, the country’s National Human Rights Commission said Wednesday.
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The commission said it interviewed 1,784 people who reported being displaced. But it also said information from others, including local authorities and human rights organizations, produced a total of at least 35,433 people who have fled.
Commission President Luis Raul Gonzalez said the report did not measure the phenomenon as much as make it more visible so authorities can address it with a new law for victims.
“Forced internal displacement in Mexico is a problem whose magnitude and real reach still must be investigated and determined in an objective and integrated manner,” Gonzalez said.
The commission’s figure was only a fraction of an estimate released Wednesday by an international humanitarian group.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, a Norway-based non-governmental organization, estimated that at the end of 2015, Mexico had 287,000 internally displaced people resulting from conflict and disasters. The report estimated nearly 100,000 newly displaced people in Mexico last year, the vast majority because of disasters.
The group tries to measure internally displaced populations around the world, while conceding that accurate information on such people is difficult to obtain.
Mexico’s government estimates 100,000 people have been killed and more than 27,000 are missing since Mexican authorities launched an offensive against drug cartels at the end of 2006.