By Nancy Caouette
MEXICO CITY (AA) – Four U.N. observers arrived in Mexico to supervise the exhumation of 116 bodies from two mass graves.
The secret rural graves in the town of Tetelcingo, in the central state of Morelos, was dug illegally in March 2014 by former workers from the office of the state prosecutor.
The U.N. team on Monday first met with relatives of missing victims who hope the remains of their loved ones will be soon identified.
The coordinator of the Victim Assistance Program of the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM), Roberto Villanueva Guzmán, told El Universal newspaper that the relatives entered into an agreement with the Morelos state prosecutor in order to get a U.N. team to supervise the exhumation.
“The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is highly concerned by the Tetelcingo mass grave case and this is why a team of his office is here this morning,” said Villanueva, who is coordinating work on the case of an independent forensic team from UAEM in the irregular cemetery of Tetelcingo.
According to the Morelos prosecutor’s office, the bodies were dumped in the graves without following proper procedure from the state’s morgues. Officials said they were all unclaimed bodies.
Families of those who have disappeared in Morelos and other states are asking for a independent investigation to clarify who is responsible for burying the bodies.
According to the La Jornada newspaper, the families of the disappeared will soon file a human rights case with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) against the local government.
“We ask the IACHR to state that the serious violations of human rights that occurred in Tetelcingo are a crime against humanity, in terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” read a signed statement by relatives of the complaint published Monday by La Jornada.
During the first week of exhumations, 54 bodies were unearthed.
Forensics tests are being conducted in an attempt to identify the remains and three separate teams are also investigation conditions in which the victims were killed.
According to official figures, more than 27,600 people are missing across Mexico.
At least 10,000 have been victims of kidnapping since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in late 2012.