Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice

May 3, 2015
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Photo @SIPAZ

On 26 April, 7 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, some 400 people installed in Mexico City an “antimonument” to commemorate the fact that this State atrocity continues to go unresolved.  After the antimonument was installed, Melitón Ortega, one of the parents of the disappeared students, stressed that seven months have passed during which the relatives of the disappeared have sought justice and truth, but these months have also implied a great deal of pain and frustration.  Ortega demanded that the Federal Attorney General’s Office attend to the recommendations of the interdisciplinary group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to open new lines of investigation in the case, and to analyze the presumed participation of the military and the former governor Ángel Aguirre in the State crime.

On 23 April, Cuitláhuac and Lenin Mondragón attended the tenth Latin American Conference on Critical Jurisprudence “For Memory and Against Forgetting” that was held at the Center for Interdisciplinary Investigations in the Sciences and Humanities at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  They denounced that the murder of Julio César (the only one of the 43 youth whose remains have been found) has not been adequately covered by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), for the Guerrero state authorities have not carried out a “scientific investigation” to find and punish those responsible.  They demanded that the authorities provide justice in the case against the students, punishment of the intellectual and material authors of the crime, compensation of damages to the relatives of the disappeared in accordance with international standards, promises of non-repetition, the opening of new lines of investigation, and a formal recognition of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students, the extrajudicial murder of another six persons, including Julio César, and a recognition that Julio was tortured before his murder.

To demand justice, the defense lawyer Sayuri Herrera announced to SDP News that the family-members would request a summons before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) to denounce the case, given that, from their view, enough evidence exists to show that Julio César indeed was tortured.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunidad, principal ganadora, dicen dos familiares de estudiante desollado (La Jornada, 24 de abril de 2015)

Llevarán a la Corte Interamericana asesinato del normalista Julio César Mondragón (SPDNoticias, 23 de abril de 2015)

Instalan antimonumento contra la impunidad por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 27 de abril de 2015)

Ayotzinapa: Siete meses de impunidad y lucha por la justicia (Centro ProDH, 27 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/International: Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe (24 April 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (6 de marzo de 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

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Guerrero/National: SCJN examines IACHR sentence in the case of Inés and Valentina, indigenous women who were raped by the military in 2002

May 3, 2015

Inés y Valentina (@Tlachinollan)Inés and Valentina (@Tlachinollan)

On 21 April, the plenary of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) began a discussion regarding the sentence provided by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in August 2010 which condemned the Mexican State for the violation of the human rights of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, indigenous women who were sexually assaulted by soldiers in Guerrero state in 2002.

Valentina and Inés have requested that the SCJN treat their case as it did the Radilla case (a forcible disappearance, also from Guerrero state) to determine the obligations of the judiciary amidst the sentences emitted by the IACHR.  They believe that the discussion within the Supreme Court is critically important, as this could lead to penal processes against soldiers with a focus on sexual torture and the administration of justice with a sensitivity to matters of gender and ethnicity, among other questions.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has provided counsel for the two indigenous women, has declared that the process of debate “opens the possibility that the SCJN would recognize the symbolic struggle for justice that both women have undertaken, and to hand down criteria that would help indigenous women experience better conditions in their search for justice.  Above all, it would contribute to the cause of having sexual torture by investigated and adequately judged in Mexico.”

However, during one of the initial sessions, the SCJN decided to exclude from consideration the constitutionality of part II of the new article 57 of the Military Justice Code, which has to do with military tribunals.  Civil-society organizations present at the session expressed their concern due to this evident lack of concern for a deep analysis of the question.

For more information (in Spanish):

COMUNICADO “Inicia la SCJN discusión sobre las obligaciones del Poder Judicial de la Federación frente a las sentencias dictadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en los casos de Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo” (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 21 de abril de 2015)

Discute SCJN sentencia de CIDH por violación a indígenas en 2002 (La Jornada, 21 de abril de 2015)

Resoluciones de COIDH son obligatorias (El Universal, 21 de abril de 2015)

SCJN no revisará ley militar en caso de Valentina Rosendo e Inés Fernández (La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Beginning of legal processes against soldiers presumed to be responsible in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo (15 January 2014)

Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo (5 February 2013)

Guerrero: Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández receive recognitions of their struggle (16 November 2012)

Guerrero – briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo (21 December 2011)


National/International: Conclusions of the Fifth High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights between the European Union and Mexico

April 24, 2015

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Upon the conclusion of the Fifth High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights between the European Union (EU) and Mexico, a meeting which took place in Tlatelolco, between the Mexican State and an EU representative, the bilateral agreements that had been arranged were announced.  During this fifth edition of the Dialogue, the recommendations from the Third Seminar of Civil Society were contemplated in terms of the question of the strengthening of the State of Right; the situation of the rights of migrants, refugees, and the displaced; the situation of children and adolescents; and respect for firms and human rights.

The civil society concluded that the present crisis of severe human-rights violations has been made possible due to the levels of corruption and impunity and the lack of effective mechanisms to prevent, investigate, punish, and compensate for human-rights violations.  In this sense, they call on the EU and Mexican governments to observe these same standards for respect for human rights that they demand from other countries.  In addition, they called on the authorities to carry out effective investigations that will guarantee the appropriate penal and administrative sanctions for those responsible and guarantee the adequate classification of human-rights violations.  Specifically with regard to the Ayotzinapa case, the civil society calls on the Mexican State to “implement the recommendations released by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts empowered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to put an end to forcible disappearances.”  Similarly, the civil-society organizations have demanded the creation of a transnational mechanism for the immediate search and rescue of disappeared peoples, in consultation with their families.

As an agreement within the Dialogue, Mexico and the EU commit themselves to strengthening three of the areas of their bilateral relations: to prevent and combat the employment of torture, to register all those forcibly disappeared, as well as to advance the mission of the Mechanism of Protection for Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tlatlaya y Ayotzinapa, temas en el diálogo entre México y Unión Europea (La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2015)
Conclusiones del Tercer Seminario de la Sociedad Civil en el marco del Quinto Diálogo de Alto Nivel sobre Derechos Humanos entre México y la Unión Europea (CDHFBC, 16 de abril de 2015)

Exigen ONG mexicanas y europeas a Peña acatar recomendaciones sobre tortura (Proceso, 16 de abril de 2015)

México debe acatar recomendaciones de CIDH: ONGs (El Universal, ‎16 de abril de 2015‎)

Pactan México y UE promoción de derechos humanos y democracia (El Universal, 15 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: Mexico confronts a “humanitarian crisis” amidst context of violence and impunity, denounces civil society in Brussels (30 March 2014)


Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and crime against humanity

April 10, 2015

20150205_164829Photo @SIPAZ

The first report from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a branch of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), indicates that the forcible disappearance of the 43 students on 26 and 27 September 2014 in Iguala amounts to a crime against humanity.  The families of the youth and the organizations which accompany them welcomed this first conclusion from the GIEI.  They expressed that the primary recommendations, which call on the Mexican State to treat the case as a forcible disappearance, gives the hope that justice and truth will soon prevail.  Among the requests made by the Group, stress is placed on gaining access to a digital copy of the evidence that is available to the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), treating the case as a forcible disappearance, establishing a mechanism of medical attention for the relatives in the region, and urgently providing the comatose student Aldo Gutiérrez with a second neurological evaluation, beyond protecting the evidence that exists and continuing with the searches.

On 23 March, relatives of the students and representatives of civil organizations announced that the Mexican government lied to the IACHR during the audience on “Denunciations of forcible disappearance and impunity in Mexico.”  Manuel Olivares, director of the “José María Morelos y Pavón” Center for Human Rights, located in Chilapa, Guerrero, denounced that, contrary to what the State officials said, there existed no search protocol in the Ayotzinapa case, and that the demand for the presentation with live of the students has not been met, either.  “The response from the State is highly inadequate,” he concluded.

In other news, the report indicates that two units from the Reaction Force of the 27th Infantry Batallion, based in Iguala, were patrolling the streets from 11pm on 26 September until 6am the next day.  The soldiers saw the dead, invaded the hospitals in which the injured were found, and were fully knowledgeable of the gunfire and attacks.  On 27 September, the students were looking for their disappeared comrades in the streets, while others made reports to the Ministry of the Interior, but the report from the patrols provided by the 27th Batallion that day claims it to have been a day “without news.”  This information is contained within one of the documents provided to Proceso by the Secretary for National Defesne (SEDENA) in accordance with the Law on Transparency.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de normalistas saludan informe de expertos de CIDH, que acusa desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 20 de marzo de 2015)

Insatisfactorias, respuestas de Estado ante CIDH por desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 23 de marzo de 2015)

En manos del PJF, petición de la CIDH sobre desaparición forzada (La Jornada, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Ayotzinapa: sus propios informes comprometen al Ejército (Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (21 March 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Chiapas/International: Grave situation of defenders denounced before the UN Human Rights Council; “We Are All Female Defenders” gives presentation

March 21, 2015

Foto @  RIDH | Panorama diplomático

Photo @RIDH | Panorama diplomático

In observance of the twenty-eighth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Consorcio for Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca (Consorcio Oaxaca), the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra, and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) denounced the climate of hostility and violence in which they carry out their work in defense of human rights in Mexico.  “We are here to denounce that the Mexican government is failing to protect human-rights defenders,” noted Yésica Sánchez, director of Consorcio Oaxaca. For her part, Norma Mesino, a member of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS), indicated that the goal of the visit was to raise awareness about “the Mexican government denies us the right to justice” as female human-rights defenders.  In her case, the precautionary measures needed to protect her life were only granted after being ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  “We want the international community to focus itself on Mexico and demand that the government observe human rights,” she added.

These defenders participated together with the UN Special Rapporteur on human-rights defenders during the event, and the CMDPDH campaign called “#MakeThemVisible” was launched, toward the end of sharing the life-stories of 40 female human-rights defenders in Mexico.

Beyond this, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, the report “We Are All Female Rights-Defenders” wa presented.  This provides a national diagnostic regarding the situation of attacks on female human-rights defenders and the type of violence they have suffered–in the majority of cases, at the hands of State agents.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defensoras de derechos humanos mexicanas denuncian en la ONU falta de garantías para ejercer su labor (RIDH – Panorama diplomático, 9 de marzo de 2015)

La lucha de las mujeres defensoras en un México de violencia e impunidad (Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Participa Consorcio Oaxaca en Diálogo “Contexto de la violencia en México y su impacto en las mujeres defensoras de DH” frente al Relator de la ONU (Consorcio Oaxaca, 9 de marzo de 2015)


Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope for the Ayotzinapa case

March 21, 2015

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March-rally, 5 February 2015 in Chilpancingo. Photo @SIPAZ

The parents of the 43 students forcibly disappeared in Iguala confirmed their trust in the team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which at the beginning of this month started to review the evidence on the happenings of 26 September 2014.  Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the parents of the disappeared, said that the arrival of the independent specialists represents an advance, given that it provides hope that truthful results will result from the investigations that they plan to undertake, “rather than a theater put on by the Federal Attorney General’s Office [PGR].”  He added that it is hoped that the PGR will come to an agreement regarding the inspection of military barracks on the part of the parents, as they have been told that the conditions are not appropriate at this time.  The parents want to know that they are not just going in circles.  Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, their lawyer, has specified that the IACHR specialists are not those in charge of carrying out the investigation, but rather that they will review what has occurred so far within the ongoing investigation so as to make recommendations when irregularities are found.

In recent days, relatives of Julio César Mondragón Fontes, the student who was murdered and defigured, rejected the conclusions made by the PGR that accuse the Iguala municipal police officer Luis Francisco Martínez Díaz as responsible for the murder.  The relatives noted that after five months without the minimum of attention dedicated to clarifying the torture and execution of Julio César, “now the PGR seeks to close the case with a summary media action, thus leaving unresolved one of the very ‘reasons for which the Ayotzinapa case cannot be closed.'”  Beyond this, they demanded that the torture and extrajudicial execution of the youth be investigated as a murder.  They have demanded that the investigation be serious, profound, and based in science.  In a communique released on 4 March, the family denounces that the case has been investigated using two lines directed by Chilpancingo: murder and organized crime.  “This makes no sense, given that it was torture and an extrajudicial execution.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Llegada del grupo de CIDH, un “avance”, afirman familiares (Milenio, 6 de marzo de 2015)

Expertos de la CIDH se reúnen con autoridades encargadas de la investigación de Ayotzinapa (SIDIDH, 5 de marzo de 2015)

Familiares de normalista exigen a Arely Gómez que retome el caso (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case

March 1, 2015

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Photo @SIPAZ

On 13 February, the UN Committee against Forced Disappearance (CED) declared that “generalized disappearances” are practiced “throughout” Mexico, and that the Ayotzinapa case “illustrates the serious challenges that the State confronts in terms of the prevention, investigation, and sanctioning of forcible disappearances and the search for the disappeared.”  It reminded the State of its obligation to “effectively investigate all State agents or organs that could have been involved, as well as to exhaust all lines of investigation” in response to forcible disappearances, with this being a recommendation that could clearly be applied to the Ayotzinapa case.

The inconsistencies that have been indicated by the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF) with regards to the investigation of the Federal Attorney General (PGR) of the presumed murder of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa strengthen the demand to now open new lines of investigation and set the official story to the side, as relatives of the disappeared youth observed in a press-conference held on 9 February.  The spokesperson of the parents, Felipe de la Cruz, claimed that “the historical truth of this federal government in this case […] is in tatters.  Today certainly we can truly see clearly that we were not mistaken from the beginning, when we said we did not trust the government’s version and that of the PGR.”

In a communique released on 9 February, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, explained in detail about the failed investigation into the Ayotzinapa case.  It concludes by saying that “[Now the parents] await the international support of the UN and the Inter-American Commission, as well as the prestigious work being carried out by the Argentine team.  They request that the PGR listen to their demands and observe the rights of the victims by carrying out an investigation that takes into account all possible lines and is based in scientific evidence.”  On 12 February, representatives of the families of the 43 disappeared students expressed their welcome to the newly arrived Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Groups (GIEI) to Mexico, who will begin the work of verifying the investigation of the forcible disappearance of the youth on 1 March.

For more information (in Spanish):

‘‘La verdad histórica sobre Ayotzinapa se cae a pedazos’’, expresan padres de familia (La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Un gobierno que sepulta la verdad (CDHM Tlachinollan, 9 de febrero de 2015)

ONU acusa “desapariciones generalizadas” en México (SIDIDH, 13 de febrero de 2015)