Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with 16 of his House colleagues in making the following joint statement to mark the fourth anniversary of the forced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico.
Joining Congressman Lowenthal in the release of this statement are Congress Members Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), David Cicilline (RI-01), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Barbara Lee (CA-13), James McGovern (MA-02), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Paul Tonko (NY-20), and Norma Torres (CA-35):
“We remain deeply troubled by the lack of progress in the Mexican government’s investigation into what happened on the night of September 26, 2014, when 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College disappeared while in the custody of Mexican security forces. Our thoughts are with the students’ families, who four years later are still tirelessly searching for answers about the fate of their loved ones.
“It is profoundly concerning that a Mexican federal court has deemed the government’s investigation so flawed that it has ordered the creation of an Investigative Commission for Truth and Justice to continue the investigation. We urge the Enrique Peña Nieto administration and the incoming government of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to fully implement the Investigative Commission, to include the victims’ families in the process, and ensure an honest and credible investigation going forward.
“We implore the Mexican government to prioritize determining the whereabouts of the 43 students and bringing those responsible for this tragedy to justice to help put an end to this crisis of impunity. This case sheds light on Mexico’s broader human rights crisis and the need to continue to strengthen the country’s criminal justice system. More than 37,000 people have disappeared in the country in the past decade, and cases of torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and unlawful killings remain alarmingly high. The perpetrators of these atrocious crimes, including drug cartels and state agents, are rarely held accountable.
“We encourage the U.S. Departments of State and Justice to continue working with Mexican authorities to resolve this case and to support the country’s judicial reform efforts. This should include support for the Investigative Commission, as well as for Mexico’s transition to an independent National Prosecutor’s Office, which provides hope for strengthening investigations into corruption and grave human rights violations.
“On the fourth anniversary of the students’ disappearance, we recognize the families of the victims and the human rights organizations accompanying them for not giving up on this fight. We admire their strength and perseverance, and their dedication to pursuing truth and justice.”