[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday criticized [press release] the government of Mexico [official website] for their “failed” investigation of the army in the “enforced disappearance” of 43 students on September 26, claiming that it was incomplete and insufficient, after DNA collected from a mass grave of burned bodies proved inconclusive at this time. Although Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said that all lines of inquiry have now been exhausted, AI is calling for more to be done “in cases where there are signs of collusion on the part of the authorities and security forces in human rights abuses.” In Friday’s press release, AI asserted that “the enforced disappearance of the students has highlighted Mexico’s appalling human rights record,” with over 100,000 killings and 23,000 missing persons in Mexico since the beginning of the country’s “war on drugs” in 2006.
Human rights issues have been a major concern in Mexico for a while [JURIST news archive]. Last year Pena Nieto announced [video, in Spanish] a nationwide anti-crime campaign following the September 26 disappearance [JURIST report] who were en route to Iguala to protest lack of funds for their school. Earlier last year Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of the Mexican city of Iguala, was charged [press release, in Spanish] with six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide by prosecutors in the state of Guerrero. In 2013 AI urged Mexican lawmakers to reform the nation’s military justice system to combat human rights abuses committed by army and navy personnel. Also AI called on the Mexican government to investigate the disappearances [JURIST report] of thousands of people and acknowledge the government’s involvement in the disappearances. AI’s report stated 26,121 people were reported disappeared or missing between December 2006 and December 2012, but 40 percent of the cases were not investigated. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns urged [JURIST report] Mexico’s government to better protect against human rights abuses, particularly with respect to the military’s use of force against civilians. Earlier that year HRW reported [JURIST report] that Mexican security forces have enforced or participated in widespread “disappearances” in which individuals are taken against their will.