Rights group urges Mexico to investigate thousands of disappearances

Rights group urges Mexico to investigate thousands of disappearances

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a statement [press release] on Friday urging the Mexican government to adhere to UN recommendations on how to investigate the disappearances of 22,600 of its citizens. Half of the counted disappearances occurred between 2012 and 2014, and include the disappearance of Ayotzinapa students [JURIST report], who were allegedly sent to their deaths by government officials. Last week the UN heard recommendations from varying organizations, including AI, which presented the “huge problem of impunity and lack of proper investigations, the need for comprehensive databases and protocols for searching for those disappeared and the insufficient attention granted to victims, including proper reparations.” AI expressed hope that the UN recommendations will allow for tangible changes in governmental practices that could lead to information about those who have disappeared.

The large number of disappearances in Mexico have been a weight on the shoulders of Mexican citizens and the international community alike. While the problem of disappearances is widespread in Mexico, no particular case has drawn more attention than that of the Ayotzinapa students. One of the first major breakthroughs in the case occurred in mid-November when Jose Luis Abarca, a former Mayor of Iguala, was charged [JURIST report] with homicide of the disappeared students. In late January, Mexican authorities arrested [JURIST report] a hit man for the Guerreros Unidos gang, which is believed to be behind the murder of the disappeared students, along with 100 other people believed to be connected to the crime. Two days later Mexican officials issued final findings [JURIST report] on the case, and declared that all the students were believed to be dead, even though DNA testing has only affirmatively confirmed the death of one. Mexico has faced much criticism from international actors on their efforts to resolve the problem of disappearances. Earlier this month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged President Barack Obama [official profile] to press Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto [official profile, in Spanish] on human rights concerns during an upcoming meeting. Just last week Amnesty International released another criticism [JURIST report] of Mexico’s failed investigation of the Ayotzinapa student’s disappearance, calling it incomplete and insufficient.