In an interview with Mexican Newspaper EL UNIVERSAL, the director of Human Rights Watch’s American division criticized President Enrique Peña Nieto’s reaction to the disappearance of 43 students of Ayotzinapa teachers college.
Mexico is experiencing its worst human rights crisis since 1968. The disappearance of 43 students of Ayotzinapa teachers college in Iguala and the many clandestine graves that have been found while trying to locate them prove a serious “degradation in Mexico in areas such as justice, violence, observance of human rights, corruption and impunity,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division.
“The human rights crisis that started in Mexico during the administration of Felipe Calderón is the most serious faced by the country since the time of Tlatelolco (when students were killed on October 2, 1968), especially with the culmination of the disappearance of over 40 students. I have not heard of a similar incident in Latin America over the last 30 years,” Vivanco said in an interview with Mexican Newspaper EL UNIVERSAL.
After participating in a seminar at the 70th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) accompanied by the newly elected Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Organization of American States (OAS), Edison Lanza, and former Rapporteur Catalina Botero, Vivanco talked about human rights in Mexico.
“People ask, especially outside of Mexico: ‘How can police open fire against students and then try to disappear 40 people?’ The only explanation is impunity, total impunity,” Vivanco said.
He added that it was regrettable that president Enrique Peña Nieto took four days to react to the violent events registered on September 26 in Iguala.
“The President clearly intended to distance himself from the events when he said that the federal government can not substitute the responsibilities and obligations of state governments… as if Iguala was Guatemala. It is only 120 kilometers away from Mexico City and is part of the national territory! I think President Peña Nieto was more concerned with protecting his image by distancing himself from the incident, as he did with Tlatlaya’s case. The current administration considers that security and human rights are toxic issues that tarnish Mexico’s image, so they think it is better no to talk about them and hide them under the carpet“, Vivanco decried.
He underlined that just like the previous administration, the current government “does not seem willing to do anything to change the existing impunity, which explains what happened in Iguala.”
Vivanco added that no government official has been indicted for forced disappearances in Mexico since the year 2006.
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