Disappearances are rampant and commonplace in Mexico. Over 25,000 cases from 2007 to January 2015 have been recorded in the National Registry of Missing and Disappeared Persons from 2007 to January 2015, and yet this database only reflects a portion of the total cases. The sheer number of disappearances reflects the failure of state and federal authorities to meaningfully address the problem and locate the missing, contributing a pervasive culture of violence, fear and impunity.

Mexico’s deteriorating human rights situation drew international attention in September of 2014, when 43 students from the rural teachers’ college Ayotzinapa in the Southwestern state of Guerrero were forcibly disappeared by municipal police in collusion with members of a criminal group, an outrage that the Mexican government has failed to adequately investigate; to date, only one of the victims has been identified.

The families of the forcibly disappeared students are represented by the Center for Human Rights of the Montaña - Tlachinollan, founded by 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureate Abel Barrera Hernández. RFK Human Rights has worked closely with Tlachinollan in its efforts to win justice for the students of Ayotzinapa. In December of 2014, RFK Human Rights organized advocacy meetings between Tlachinollan’s leadership and a number of key organizations and individuals, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

Our lawyers and advocates have also supported Tlachinollan in hearings before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the U.S. Congress, meetings with the U.S. National Security Council, the Supreme Court of Mexico, with op-eds in a variety of publications, and with urgent actions and campaigns. We will continue our efforts to demand transparency and accountability from the Mexican government.


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Amid serious investigation concerns, human rights experts urge Mexican President Pena Nieto to increase effort and commitment on case of 43 forcibly disappeared students from Ayotzinapa
News Release | October 15, 2015


See below for a video of Abel Barrera's remarks at the 2014 Ripple of Hope Awareds Gala.