Mexico is appearing this week before the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances, where it intends to discuss the advances that have been made in tracking down missing persons and attending to victims.
But representatives of Ayotzinapa families are in Geneva, Switzerland, too, and their intention is much more specific: they want the U.N. to pressure the Mexican government to carry on searching for the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, on September 26.
“We’ve come here to make a denunciation before the U.N. over the disappearance of our sons so that this organization applies pressure on the Mexican government to find them and return them,” said parent Bernabé Abraján Gaspar. “. . . we’re suffering a great deal; what we’re living through is something we wouldn’t wish on anyone, but we still have strength and we’ll keep on fighting until we get them back . . . .”
Another parent, Hilda Antonia Legideño, said she and the other parents no longer have confidence in the government. “They told us they would keep us informed of everything but they didn’t, and they have closed the case without having found (the students), so we don’t trust them anymore.”
Last Wednesday the Attorney General told a press conference that investigations have concluded that municipal police in Iguala and Cocula delivered the 43 students into the hands of a crime gang. The students were killed, their bodies incinerated and their remains disposed of in a river.
In a presentation to the committee this morning in Geneva, the senior Mexican delegate was clear that there are challenges to overcome. Juan Manuel Gómez Roblado, an under-secretary in the Foreign Affairs Secretariat who is responsible for human rights issues, said in spite of advances in the protection of human rights, “we continue to confront challenges that we must overcome.”
He observed that his delegation was in Geneva at a time when “circumstances are particularly painful” but he stressed that at the same time there is determination and strength to find the truth and deliver justice.
Gómez said the forced disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students was yet another sign that it was important to continue addressing the problems associated with poverty, exclusion and corruption, and to confront organized crime.
The head of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission also made a presentation today in which he agreed that these are critical and challenging times, in spite of constitutional reforms in 2011. Luis Raúl González Pérez said the facts point to an inconsistency between what the regulations and establish and the reality.
He proposed 14 measures to deal with forced disappearances, from expediting the drafting of regulations for the creation of a national registry of missing persons to establishing search protocols.
The latest figures say there are 23,271 people missing or not located.
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