Mexico: Six months of frustration and failure in search for missing Ayotzinapa students

Mexican authorities have made shamefully little progress in their investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 student teachers from Guerrero State, said Amnesty International today, six months on from the tragedy.

Six hours after the students went missing we were worried for their safety. Six weeks on we were frustrated and saddened by the lack of progress in the search for their whereabouts. But now, six months later, we are absolutely horrified by the abject failure of the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to these young men and bring those responsible to justice.
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

“The past six months have been a period of heartbreak and torment for the family and friends of those who were forcibly disappeared last September. Despite worldwide attention on the issue, the Mexican authorities have failed to properly pursue all lines of investigation, especially the worrying allegations of complicity by armed forces. The Mexican authorities cannot wait even one day more, but must act now to bring those responsible to justice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.

“Six hours after the students went missing we were worried for their safety. Six weeks on we were frustrated and saddened by the lack of progress in the search for their whereabouts. But now, six months later, we are absolutely horrified by the abject failure of the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to these young men and bring those responsible to justice.”

Investigations into the disappearances have stalled and faltered. When human remains were found in a rubbish dump and river in Cocula in November, the then-attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam announced that he was prepared to close the case. However DNA testing on the remains has only identified one of the students, leaving the fate and whereabouts of the other men unclear.

On 3 March, Mexico appointed a new Federal Attorney General, Arely Gómez González. She has since called the disappearance an “isolated case”. However, these 43 students are only the most recent 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.