Mexico: Six months of failure in search for missing students

The Mexican authorities have made shamefully little progress in their investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 student teachers from Guerrero State, said Amnesty International today, six months on from the tragedy.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International said:

“The past six months have been a period of heartbreak and torment for the family and friends of those who were forcibly disappeared last September. Despite worldwide attention on the issue, the Mexican authorities have failed to properly pursue all lines of investigation, especially the worrying allegations of complicity by armed forces.

“Six hours after the students went missing we were worried for their safety. Six weeks on we were frustrated and saddened by the lack of progress in the search for their whereabouts. But now, six months later, we are absolutely horrified by the abject failure of the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to these young men and bring those responsible to justice.”

Investigations into the disappearances have stalled and faltered. When human remains were found in a rubbish dump and river in Cocula in November, the then-attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam announced that he was prepared to close the case. However DNA testing on the remains has only identified one of the students, leaving the fate and whereabouts of the other men unclear.

On 3 March, Mexico appointed a new Federal Attorney General, Arely Gómez González. She has since called the disappearance an “isolated case”. However, the 43 students are only the most recent in a long line of people who have disappeared. According to official figures, more than 25,700 people have disappeared or gone missing in Mexico in the past eight years, and almost half of them during the current administration of President Peña Nieto.

Spokespeople are available in London and Mexico to talk about:

-        The ways in which the Mexican authorities have failed to investigate this case
-        The context of impunity in Mexico
-        Amnesty International’s work with and for the families of those missing
-        The scale of disappearances in Mexico

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