WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
10 Nov 2016 | Commentary | News

Resource Page: Analysis and Information on Mexico’s Ayotzinapa Case

On the night of September 26, 2014, students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ School (Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos) in Ayotzinapa, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, were attacked by local police while riding in buses in Iguala, another city in the state of Guerrero. In a series of attacks, police opened fire on the buses, killing 6 people, including 3 bystanders, and injuring many more. The tortured body of Julio César Mondragón was found in a street the following day. During the night’s succession of events, 43 students were forcibly disappeared. Various theories regarding their whereabouts have since emerged. On December 6, 2014, the Mexican government announced that the remains of one of the disappeared students, Alexander Mora Venancio, had been identified, however, the fate of 42 of the students remains unknown.

This case sparked a wave of massive protests in the country and worldwide. Along with the students’ families, Mexican human rights organizations, and other national and international actors, WOLA has expressed multiple concerns regarding the government’s handling of the case.

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts

On November 12, 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed an agreement with the students’ families and representatives and the Mexican government to provide technical assistance for the case. As a result, the IACHR formed the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos y Expertas Independientes, GIEI) who are tasked with assisting with the search for the students, the investigation into those responsible, the attention to the victims of the attack and their families, and the development of public policies regarding enforced disappearance. The Group of Experts worked on the case from March 2015 to April 2016.

Below are resources regarding the work of the Group of Experts:

The Special Follow-Up Mechanism to Ayotzinapa 

Following the Experts’ departure, in July 2016, the IACHR established a Follow-Up Mechanism for the Ayotzinapa investigation under a new agreement with the Mexican government, the students’ families, and their representatives. The Follow-Up Mechanism is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Experts’ recommendations and the overall progress being made in the investigation.

Below are resources regarding the work of the Follow-Up Mechanism:

Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team

Since October 5, 2014, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF) has accompanied the forensic investigation as an independent expert on behalf of the students’ families.

Below are resources regarding the work of the EEAF:

WOLA resources on the Ayotzinapa case

Letters and Statements from U.S. Congress

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office

On October 4, 2014, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) took on the Ayotzinapa case, and on January 27, 2015, presented its theory of the case, essentially closing its investigation.

  • Video presentation of the PGR’s case theory, Jan. 27, 2015

Additional Resources: