August 30th marks International Day of the Disappeared, a day to remember those who’ve gone missing and stand in solidarity with their loved ones. In Mexico, there are more than 100,000 people reporting missing in the last six decades, mainly as a humanitarian consequence of violence, but the number is likely higher. Behind each missing person there’s a family searching for answers and wanting to know what happened to their loved one.

In this episode, we’re going to learn about how the ICRC works with what are known in Mexico as colectivos, or groups of families and friends who unite to search for their missing loved ones and defend their rights. We speak with Beatriz Adriana Martinez about her husband, Juan Alvarez Gil’s disappearance in 2013, to understand what a family goes through when a loved one goes missing and how these colectivos support Beatriz and the hundreds of thousands of other families. We also speak with Marlene Herbig, an ICRC delegate with the Missing Persons Program in Mexico, who works to help those who are searching for their missing loved ones know their rights, and how and when to seek mental health counseling.

Kids, taking part in ICRC’s programme to assist the families of missing persons, hang messages on a tree for their missing relatives in Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. Credit: Brenda Islas

Important Links

Our press release on the 100,000 missing over the last six decades.

Mexico’s Database For The Missing

Learn more about the ICRC’s Missing Persons Global Response.

ICRC’s music video with “Playing for Change,” featuring artists from around the world performing a cover of the U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

*Just because we feature something or someone here doesn’t mean we endorse or agree with the institutions they represent. Views expressed here don’t necessarily represent those of the ICRC.