With only three months remaining until the Group of Experts' mandate expires, the international team tasked with investigating the case of the enforced disappearance of 43 students from Guerrero, Mexico, is facing serious obstacles in their quest to find the truth about the students' demise in September 2014.
A coordinated defamation campaign against the Experts intended to discredit their work is gaining momentum in the Mexican press. Additionally, the group has not been allowed to interview Mexican soldiers in Iguala, many of whom were present during the attacks on the students. We are concerned about the Experts' ability to pursue their work safely, independently and without obstruction of justice.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and several international human rights organizations reiterate our full support the work of the Experts – all internationally recognized for their outstanding work in human rights. We call on the Mexican government to publicly acknowledge the important work of the Group. Additionally, we strongly urge the Mexican government to move beyond the original theory that the students were burned at a trash dump in Cocula and work with the Group to pursue other lines of investigation.
The government of Mexico must uphold its obligation to clarify what happened to the forcibly disappeared students and to determine their whereabouts, a task for which the continued participation of the Group of Experts is crucial.
If Mexico fails to do this, the US should consider cutting funding to Mexico under the Merida Initiative, a bilateral security agreement, which conditions the release of a portion of the funds on the government's effective search for victims of enforced disappearance and on the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of this crime, among other requirements.