March 26, 2015
Six Months after Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico, Citizens and International Community Still Seek Justice
Mexican Government Must Support Work of International Experts
Six months after 43 students were forcibly disappeared in southern Mexico the undersigned international human rights organizations express concern that many questions remain unanswered. As the investigation into the students’ disappearance continues, we call on the Mexican government to fully support the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights-appointed Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos y Expertas Independientes, GIEI), which has been tasked with reviewing the case, and to fully implement its recommendations.
On March 19, the GIEI released a report on its first trip to Mexico (March 1-19). The Group’s initial requests were: 1) to continue the search for the missing students; 2) that the case be treated as a case of enforced disappearance; 3) to ensure the preservation of evidence; 4) that the government provide medical attention to those affected by this crime, including student’s families and Aldo Gutierrez, the student who remains in a coma for the injuries sustained during the September attack; and 5) to guarantee the Group’s access to all needed information including a digital copy of the case file, and an interview with military officials from the 27th battalion of the Army (in Iguala, Guerrero).
The GIEI’s initial recommendations ranged from expanding the use of satellite imagery records from the evenings of September 26 and 27 to urging the Mexican congress to promptly approve legislation on enforced disappearance in accordance with international human rights norms.
We recognize that Mexico’s new Attorney General, Arely Gómez González, met with the GIEI on March 4 and assured the Group that the Ayotzinapa students’ case remained open. However, we are concerned by the Mexican government’s recent attempts to delegitimize and disregard the recommendations and observations of international human rights bodies such as the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
As the GIEI moves forward with its technical assistance, we call on the Mexican government to fulfill the initial request made by the experts for the next stages of their work and to promptly implement their preliminary recommendations. The Mexican government’s response to the GIEI and its recommendations will send a strong signal to Mexican citizens and the international community of the country’s real commitment to truth, justice, and respect for human rights.