Mexico's Drug War Victims Will Get Compensation
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The victims of Mexico's drug war are about to get a helping hand. Mexico's lower house of congress voted unanimously in favor of the General Victims Act, which will provide financial, legal and medical aid to Mexicans caught up in the turf wars between drug gangs and their clashes with security forces. The bill, which was passed last week by the senate, means victims of criminal violence may receive up to $90,000 in support and compensation payments. The bill will also direct the federal government to search actively for missing persons, make public apologies where warranted and build shelters for people at risk from violence. Mexican President Felipe Calderon—who can't legally run again in the country's elections on July 1—is expected to sign the bill into law within the next 60 days. "For the first time, federal, state and local governments will be legally bound to work together to create a special office to look into the issue of people at risk," says congressman Arturo Zamora. "This initiative will also create a database of missing people, those who have been killed and those who say they've been forced to move to another part of the country because they feel they are under threat." More than 50,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Calderon took office in 2006, while thousands more have gone missing. Victims' rights groups have complained of abuses by government security forces.