UNITED MEXICAN STATES: Macabre revelation on mass graves underscores ongoing failure in case of Ayotzinapa disappeared

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1 Aug 2015
[International Secretariat]

The latest confirmation that Mexican authorities have unearthed scores of mass graves in recent months during the search for 43 disappeared students underscores the enormity of the crisis of enforced disappearances faced in the country, Amnesty International said today.

“This latest macabre revelation confirms what we had already found: the sheer magnitude of the crisis of enforced disappearances in Guerrero and elsewhere in Mexico is truly shocking,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“If it weren’t for the persistent determination of the families of the Ayotzinapa students, as well as human rights defenders and journalists in demanding from the Mexican authorities a comprehensive response to the enforced disappearance of the young men, we might never even have known about these mass graves and the dimensions of the crisis.

“Much more needs to be done to find out, and publicize, the truth about the fate and whereabouts of the 43 students who were subjected to enforced disappearance last September, and all of Mexico’s unresolved disappearances. This should include setting up a DNA database of missing people and a registry of disappearances.”

Following a freedom of information request it made, Associated Press reported that Mexico’s Federal Attorney General’s office has admitted that 60 mass graves with the remains of at least 129 people have been found in the southern state of Guerrero since last October. None of the bodies, which included 20 women and 109 men, belonged to the 43 students who went missing in Iguala that month.

Local media outlets have also reported other mass graves being found in other Mexican states.

On 23 July, Mexico´s National Human Rights Commission published a report that highlights a number of irregularities and flaws in the investigation into the case of the 43 students. The report considers that the official investigations carried out by the Federal Attorney General´s office do not provide conclusive answers on the case, and that it is necessary to continue to search for the victims.

However, these 43 students are only one emblematic case in a long line of people who have disappeared. According to official figures, more than 25,700 people have disappeared or gone missing in Mexico in the past years, and almost half of them during the current administration of President Peña Nieto.

Amnesty International has been campaigning for the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to the Ayotzinapa students, establish their whereabouts and bring those responsible to justice.

27 July 2015

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