Mexico: Almost a year after the new government took office, the Ayotzinapa families are still waiting for justice
The measures taken by the government of President López Obrador to uncover the truth and ensure justice in the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who were forcibly disappeared five years ago must soon translate into positive results, Amnesty International said today. Such measures also need to be replicated in the cases of the thousands of other disappearances in the country.
“During the first four years of struggle, Amnesty International continually denounced the cover-up by the authorities in the Ayotzinapa case. Today we have seen initial efforts by the new government to resolve the case and we welcome this, although much remains to be done,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.
“There will be no justice until those who obstructed the search for truth are investigated, since they are also responsible for the fact that to this day the whereabouts of the students have not been clarified. Amnesty International is committed, together with the families and other organizations, to continue monitoring this emblematic case and hopes that the commitments announced by the new government will be fulfilled until the truth is revealed and justice is done.”
In its first 10 months, the government created a special commission to follow up on the case, as well as a special unit in the Attorney General's Office. In addition, the Undersecretary for Human Rights announced that Mexico will accept the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances to examine cases of disappearance in Mexico.
In a recent meeting with the relatives, President López Obrador and his government pledged to ask all institutions to support the investigations and to have regular meetings with the families and the Attorney General's Office.
However, not all experiences under the new government have been positive. The investigation has not been transparent and the new initiatives set up regarding this case have not yet produced positive results.
In recent weeks, different judges have determined that much of the evidence presented by the former Public Prosecutor's Office – now the Attorney General's Office – was illegal and, consequently, they have ordered the provisional release of several of those detained. The authorities must address this situation by ensuring that only lawful evidence is used in the cases and that the independence of judges is respected.
“Five years after the forced disappearance of the 43 young students at Ayotzinapa, the Mexican authorities still owe a great outstanding debt to the victims, their families and society in terms of guaranteeing their rights to the truth, justice and reparation for the harm done,” said Tania Reneaum Panszi, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico.
“The flaws of the investigative process in the Ayotzinapa case are an impediment that has made it difficult to clarify the facts. There are also important lessons that should not be repeated in this or other emblematic cases. The truth can only be based on an impartial investigation that is verifiable and genuine.”
Amnesty International also notes with concern that the fate of those who have disappeared in the country has not been clarified. The authorities have reported that currently more than 40,000 people remain missing in Mexico.
“The government must ensure that all the necessary resources are put in place to solve not only the case of the 43 students, but all the cases of the more than 40,000 disappeared people in the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-744-7667 ext. 236, firstname.lastname@example.org