Human rights bodies query Mexico's version of 43 students' 2014 disappearance

  1. Case of missing students prompted global outrage and shook Mexico to its core
  2. Official account disputed by international experts
  3. Hopes that incoming president will re-open state investigation

Students hold posters with images of some of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa College Raul Isidro Burgos students during a march to mark the 43rd month since their disappearance in the state of Guerrero, Mexico April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Rome

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on September 4 that it “does not accept” his version of how 43 students went missing four years ago in the state of Guerrero.

“We have to halt once and for all this position that the outgoing president is raising as ‘historical truth’, which we have rejected. The Commission does not accept it,” IACHR officer Esmeralda Arosemena stated at an event at the teachers’ school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, where the missing 43 young men studied. (El Periódico, in Spanish)

The busloads of student teachers vanished after a confused night in the city of Iguala in September 2014, during a traditional “mock bus hijack” (New York Times).

The presentation, which featured harsh criticism of Peña Nieto, included showing the parents of the disappeared a copy of the IAHCR investigation. It coincided with Peña Nieto referring to the mystery at his last presidential report.

Peña Nieto — who finishes his presidential term in three months — angered Ayotzinapa families by insisting last week on the veracity of the official version of the case, even though it was dismissed by IACHR experts who investigated the facts.

Jan Jarab, representative in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), referred to Peña Nieto’s comments saying that “there are several signs that the authorities seem to be returning to the previous version”. He considered it “worrying” because independent experts have already discredited crucial parts of that account.

“The case of the Ayotzinapa 43 has not overshadowed other cases of disappearances in Mexico, as it could have happened four years ago, but has made visible the tragedy of disappearances this country is living in so many places, and the lack of adequate responses by the state,” he added. (El Nuevo Herald, in Spanish)

Arosemena also said the Commission hoped that president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on December 1, would take advantage of the upcoming government change to open an independent investigation.

López Obrador has repeatedly said he is committed to further investigating the case with the help of international human rights organizations and making sure that “justice is done.” (New York Times)

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