WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

“The Time in Ayotzinapa” Experiences of the Experts Who Investigated the 43 Disappeared Students in Mexico

Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Washington, DC

AP Photo/Moises Castillo

WOLA, DPLF, and OSJI are pleased to invite you to the following event and reception:

A Book Discussion with Carlos Beristain, Former Member of the Group of International Experts, and an Update on the Investigation

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20009

Introductory remarks:
Katya Salazar
Executive Director, Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)

Carlos Beristain
Author of El Tiempo de Ayotzinapa
Former Expert on the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI)

Commentaries by:
María Luisa Aguilar Rodríguez
International Area, Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human
Rights Center (Centro Prodh)

Juan E. Méndez
Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University – Washington College of Law
Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Olga Guzmán Vergara
Advocacy Director, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH)

Moderated by:
Maureen Meyer
Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

This discussion will be held in Spanish and interpretation will be available. The event will be streamed live and a link will be available on WOLA’s homepage on the day of the event: www.wola.org.

A reception with the speakers will follow the discussion.

Please RSVP on the right-hand side of this event page.

When 43 students from a rural teacher’s college in southern Mexico were disappeared by Mexican authorities in 2014, the country and international community shook in outrage and demanded accountability and justice from the government. Shortly after, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Mexican Government, and the legal representatives of the students’ families reached an agreement to create an international team of independent experts to assist Mexican authorities in the search for the 43 students, the investigation of those responsible, and to provide support for the victims and their families.

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) was made up of five human rights and criminal justice experts who worked on the case for 13 months and published two reports detailing their findings. The Experts concluded that the Mexican government’s explanation of what happened to the 43 students is scientifically impossible and uncovered evidence that implicated some Mexican authorities in the obstruction of justice. The Experts also found evidence of the use of torture to obtain testimony in 17 cases, among other grave malpractices. Following the Experts’ departure, the IACHR established a follow-up mechanism for the implementation of their recommendations and to monitor progress being made in the investigation. To date, the Mexican government has not found the students or effectively investigated and prosecuted those responsible for the students’ disappearance and the obstruction of justice in the case.

Join us for a discussion with Carlos Beristain, a former member of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts who will discuss his recent book El Tiempo de Ayotzinapa (The Time in Ayoztinapa). The book recounts the Experts’ experiences working with the victims’ families and the roadblocks they faced while trying to carry out the task entrusted to them: reveal the truth about what happened to the disappeared students.  

María Luisa Aguilar Rodríguez from Centro Prodh, a human rights organization providing legal representation to the students and their families, will join Beristain and provide an update on the status of the investigation and the search for the students.

Juan Méndez, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Olga Guzmán Vergara from CMDPDH will discuss how Beristain’s book and the GIEI’s experience relate to the general human rights situation and efforts to strengthen accountability in Mexico.

For more information, contact Hannah Smith:
[email protected] or 202-797-2171.