Washington, DC—Today WOLA together with seven other international and U.S.-based human rights organizations expressed support for the request made by the International Group of Experts investigating the forced disappearance of 43 Mexican students in September 2014 to extend its mandate to assist the Mexican government in the case.
“As we approach the end of the Experts’ initial mandate, it is evident that the work of this Group is essential in helping to clarify the doubts that remain in the case of the disappeared students,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA Senior Associate for Mexico. “It’s clear that the Experts need more time to complete their objective. The Mexican government’s support for this request would demonstrate its sincere commitment to truth, justice, and reparations for this case.”
The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertas y Expertos Independientes) was conceived of by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in November 2014 through an agreement with the Mexican government and the representatives and families of the disappeared students in response to their request for technical assistance. Under the agreement, the Group of Experts’ mandate is six months and “may be extended for the time necessary to achieve its objective, through the IACHR’s consultation with the parties.”
In the letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the signed organizations explain that the extension of the Group of Experts’ mandate “is important not only to complete the outstanding tasks in relation to the case of the disappeared students but also to address the broader issue of enforced disappearances in the country.” The organizations also highlighted that nearly half (40 percent) of the Group of Experts’ information requests remain unanswered or have received only a partial response, and that work is still pending with forensic experts, the investigation of lost evidence, and other important issues.
In addition to WOLA, the signed organizations include Amnesty International, Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), JASS (Just Associates), Latin America Working Group (LAWGEF), Peace Brigades International (PBI), and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. In their letter to IACHR Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza, the organizations confirmed that “The case of the Ayoztinapa students has become an emblematic case that demonstrates the scope of the problem of forced disappearances in Mexico. Therefore, the investigation of this case should also be emblematic and constitute an example of how to carry out a comprehensive investigation in order to achieve truth and justice for the victims and their families.” In expressing their support for the extension of the mandate, the signed organizations hoped to “ensure that this unique opportunity is not cut short before fully coming to fruition.”
In the case that the extension is approved, the signed organizations called on Mexican authorities to continue to support the Group of Experts’ work and provide access to relevant evidence and key state agents. According to the signed organizations, “The Mexican government’s willingness to facilitate the Group of Experts’ work and to accept its recommendations would show its commitment to achieving truth and justice in this emblematic case and advancing the protection and respect for human rights in the country.”
WOLA Communications Director
+1 (202) 797-2171