Joint letter calling on the European Union to take action in response to the lack of concrete outcomes in locating the 43 students of Ayotzinapa two years after their disappearance.
Ms Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the European
Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Dear Ms Mogherini:
The coming September 26th will mark the two-year
anniversary of the attacks against the students of the “Raúl Isidro Burgos”
Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa in Iguala. These grave acts of violence
resulted in 6 deaths, at least 40 injured and 43 disappeared students. What's
more, taking the relatives of the disappeared students into account, there have
been over 180 direct victims and around 700 indirect victims of human rights
The Inter-American Commission of Human rights (CIDH) has stated that the
actions taken to date by the state authorities have yet to produce any concrete
outcomes or positive advances enabling the whereabouts of the 43 disappeared to
In accordance with its mandate to verify the lines
of investigation, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) has
revealed diverse findings and irregularities in the investigation in the two
reports produced on the case of Ayotzinapa. More specifically, it highlighted
potential motives that could be related to drug trafficking between Mexico and
the United States.
Moreover, the Group of Experts and the Argentine
Forensic Anthropology Team have rejected the claim that the 43 students were incinerated
at the Cocula dump site, a version of events which continues to be strongly
maintained by the Attorney General's Office of the Republic (hereinafter PGR).
It is also worthy of mentioning that in relation to the Cocula dump site story,
the IGIE made various recommendations due to the multiple deficiencies that
were identified in the investigation process, such as the lack of scientific
rigour in the expert reports and the alteration of tests refuted to Tomás Zerón
de Lucio, Head of the Criminal Investigation Agency at the PGR. The signs of
mistreatment or torture of various suspects, without having initiated an
investigation in accordance with international standards is of particular
concern. In response to the conclusions presented by the IGIE, UN experts have
maintained that “much remains to be done to unveil the truth, guarantee justice
and provide reparations to the victims”.
The involvement of different police forces and the
army in the events of the night of September 26-27th 2014, also remains to be
clarified. The IGIE highlighted the total lack of protection of the student
teachers by all of the security forces, in spite of them having knowledge of
the facts. In turn, the National Commission for Human rights has reported on
the potential involvement of municipal and federal police in the disappearance
of a group of student teachers. According to the PGR, 168 people have been
remanded, 73 of which are municipal police,
however, few advances have been made in the investigation of the other security
In order to follow up on the precautionary measures
granted by the CIDH and the recommendations of the IGIE, the Mexican State, the
CIDH, relatives of Ayotzinapa and their representatives decided to create a
special follow-up mechanism on July 29th. This agreement recognises that the
Ayotzinapa case continues to meet the requirements of severity, urgency and
irreparability, and aims to continue with the search for the 43 disappeared
students and “to double efforts to determine their whereabouts”. The
implementation of the mechanism recently began which is an important step, but it
is essential that the international community carefully monitors compliance
with the commitments and that the necessary guarantees are made so that the
designated advisors can carry out their work without restrictions.
Various international human rights mechanisms have
warned of the grave situation that Mexico is facing in terms of disappearances.
Official sources estimate that there are 28,472 missing persons.
In this sense, the legislative actions propelled by the Government for the
approval of a General Law on Disappearances are valued positively. However,
further efforts should be made to include in the law the civil society
proposals led by collectives of relatives and victims of disappeared. Finally,
the high risk suffered by families that initiate searches for their loved ones
must be stressed. Collectives of relatives from various states have reported
threats, surveillance, intercepted communication, harassment and even
assassinations for starting search brigades for disappeared persons. This alarming
situation requires international attention.
Given the gravity of the Case of Ayotzinapa, which
illustrates an alarming situation in terms of disappearances and violence in
the country, we, the signatory organisations, hereby call upon the High Representative
to issue a public statement to express concern for the lack of specific
results in determining the whereabouts of the 43 missing students and to
support the effective implementation of the special follow-up mechanism.
Likewise to bring the following demands to the immediate attention of the
Take all possible measures to determine
the whereabouts and the circumstances surrounding the forced disappearance of
the 43 students.
Initiate an exhaustive investigation of
the possible cases of torture and mistreatments of persons detained because of
the Ayotzinapa case, in adherence with international standards.
Guarantee the physical and
psychological integrity of the families of Ayotzinapa and the human rights
defenders and accompanying organisations working under high risk in the pursuit
of truth and justice.
In addition, we urge both the EU Delegation and the
Embassies of the EU member states in Mexico to visit the state of Guerrero and
to hold meetings with the relatives of Ayotzinapa and their legal
Peace Brigades International (PBI) - Mexico
CIFCA - Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and
German Network for Human Rights in Mexico
OMCT - Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture
PI - Protection International