International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, 9 November 2011

According to the Commission for Vulnerable Groups of the Mexican Deputies’ Chamber, 40,000 children have become orphans as a result from the Drug War related violence.

W Radio, a nation-wide broadcasting company in Mexico, is airing a series of stories on the impact of the war on drugs on children and youth. Their Tamaulipas State correspondent interviewed on October 31 Raul Carrillo Garcia, Director of the Support Centre for People in Grief and Member of the Mexican Association of Thanatology.

Carrillo Garcia said that the North-Eastern State of Tamaulipas has a deficit of experts who can handle and provide proper attention for the orphans of the War on Drugs. Without specialized care to relief and assist children during the process of grief, these orphans face emotional and physical distress in the short and long term.

He explained that while children younger than 6 cannot really understand death, 9-year-old children do, and the consequences of that understanding can be quite serious.  Carrillo stressed that authorities have to make sure that children process the death of a loved one so that they don’t carry it with them throughout their lives.

But state institutions are not properly equipped to deal with orphans of the drug-related violence. Few receive personalized help and the authorities do not give differential care for children who have lost a parent from crime.  

The inherent vulnerability of children and the deficit of professionals specialized in treating orphans who have lost a parent from violent crime prevents children of policemen, soldiers and crime suspects from getting the necessary support and exposing them to risk.

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