Below we reproduce the press release published by the IACHR on November 10, 2016, available here.
November 10, 2016
Mexico City – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today is releasing the Work Plan of the Follow-Up Mechanism related to the precautionary measure granted in favor of the students from the “Raúl Isidro Burgos” rural school in Ayotzinapa and to the recommendations made by the Inter-Disciplinary Group of Independent Experts, appointed by the IACHR, in connection with the 43 students who went missing in September 2014 in Iguala, Mexico.
On October 3, 2014, the IACHR requested, through Precautionary Measure 409/14, that the State of Mexico determine the status and whereabouts of the 43 missing students. Two years later, this objective has yet to be met. The mechanism will provide follow-up and oversight of the steps the State takes to comply with the precautionary measure and with the recommendations made in the two reports issued by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts. This includes the need to move forward in the search for truth and justice in this case.
The members of the Follow-Up Mechanism are presenting their work plan in the context of their first visit to Mexico, in which they are holding meetings with State authorities and with the students’ relatives and representatives to present the plan to them and explain the methodology in detail.
“The work of the Inter-Disciplinary Group showed that the bodies of the students were not cremated at the Cocula waste dump, and it is necessary to follow every feasible lines of investigation being developed at the moment” IACHR President James Cavallaro said. “The main thing the State owes the students, their family members, and society in general is to investigate until the truth about what happened is established,” he added.
For his part, the IACHR Rapporteur for Mexico and Coordinator of the Follow-Up Mechanism, Commissioner Enrique Gil Botero, noted that the Inter-Disciplinary Group of Independent Experts had included specific technical recommendations for conducting an effective investigation to get at the truth, and that these recommendations had still not been met.
“The second report of the Inter-Disciplinary Group is very precise in analyzing the problems with the investigation and providing recommendations to resolve them,” he said. “It covers everything from the restraints and obstructions encountered in the investigation, the absence of technological tools in the search for the disappeared, the failure to provide adequate attention to the families, their re-victimization, and the flaws in the medical reports done on the individuals who were arrested, following reports that they had been tortured,” Gil Botero explained.
“The mission of the Follow-Up Mechanism is to monitor compliance with the precautionary measure and with the Interdisciplinary Group’s recommendations. We expect full cooperation from the Mexican authorities to reach the shared objective of establishing the truth so that justice can be done,” the Commissioner added.
The work plan includes four basic objectives: progress in the investigation, the search for the disappeared, comprehensive attention to victims and family members, and structural non-repetition measures. Members of the Follow-Up Mechanism include Commissioner Gil Botero, as coordinator and spokesman, and technical staff of the IACHR Executive Secretariat. Other IACHR Commissioners may also participate in the mechanism. Based on Resolution 42/16, the Follow-Up Mechanism will have full access to the necessary information in the case files and other sources of information. The work plan lays out a tentative schedule of the visits that will be made, in coordination with the State, as well as the follow-up that will be done through public hearings and working meetings.
“We thank the State for guaranteeing the necessary resources for the mechanism’s functioning, the high technical level of the team from the IACHR Executive Secretariat and their detailed knowledge of the case are at the service of the Follow-Up Mechanism,” IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão explained.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.