Mexicans mark 19 months since students vanished
Parents of victims, UN urge Mexico to consider leads from independent experts .
MEXICO CITY (AA) – Thousands of demonstrators marched Tuesday in Mexico City and in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero to mark 19 months since 43 students disappeared there from a teacher training college.
Relatives of the victims march while holding giant pictures of their loved ones.
As they have every month since September 2014, they demanded the return of their children and for justice.
“[President] Enrique Pena Nieto, you said you will help us, but you discredit us. You are backstabbing us'' said a mother of one of the missing students who lead the march in Mexico City.
Relatives of the students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, once again asked for a meeting with federal government and the Pena Nieto administration.
Secretary of Interior Miguel Angel Osorio said last week during a local radio program that he would soon meet with the relatives of the young men.
The parents also demand Pena Nieto authorize an international team of experts form the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), who must leave the country by the end of the month, to remain in Mexico.
“The [IACHR] experts have demonstrated that the youth was not burned in the Cocula dump. That's why we want them to stay. We are really exhausted'', said a father of one of the victims.
This request followed the release Sunday of a report in which IACHR experts said Mexico’s government used torture and bribery to produce its official probe.
According to the controversial official version, the students were kidnapped by corrupt local police in Iguala before being turned over to members of the Guerrero Unidos, or United Warriors, drug cartel who killed the group and then burned their bodies in a dump in Cocula, a town located 21 kilometers (13 miles) from Iguala.
The experts said that the conclusions of the government are filled with inconsistencies.
They said – as did a separate team of independent experts – it would have been scientifically impossible to burn human beings in a fire in the Cocula dump on the rainy night of Sept. 26, 2014 – the night the students disappeared.
The IACHR also recommended Mexico’s government investigate the army as the experts did in their preliminary report presented last September and probe the possibility that the students could have unknowingly boarded a bus used by criminal groups to transport drugs.
The five members of the IACHR team denounced the government of Enrique Pena Nieto who they said tried to tarnish the reputation of the group and to “obstruct” its probe of the case.
These accusations have attracted worldwide attention. The UN said it took into “serious consideration” the recommendations made by the IACHR.
“The Iguala case shows the crucial role that international cooperation can play in helping states to fight impunity for serious human rights violations,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
He said it was “very important that the government acts decisively on recommendations and ensures the rights to truth and justice of the victims and their families.” The U.S. State Department also stressed the importance for Mexican authorities to “carefully consider the report's recommendations” in a way to “address the issue of forced disappearances” and provide support to the families of the victims.