US urges progress on case of missing students in Mexico

October 30, 2015

MEXICO CITY – The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called on Mexico on Thursday to show progress in solving the disappearance of 43 students and other high-profile allegations of human rights abuses.

Samantha Power spoke to journalists after a three-day visit to Mexico, where she held talks with the foreign minister and the attorney general, including discussions on security cooperation.

The United States has blocked 15 percent, or $5 million, of the anti-drug security and training aid it provides to Mexico over human rights concerns.

Power said the authorities can regain the trust of their people by solving prominent crimes such as last year’s disappearance of the students in the southern city of Iguala.

“If progress could be made on the Iguala case, or if progress could be made on the [other] cases, … and resources are dedicated and if accountability could be achieved, that sends a very important signal,” she said.

The diplomat welcomed Attorney General Arely Gómez’s decision to accept the recommendations of independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who rejected the findings of the official investigation.

Prosecutors say Iguala’s municipal police abducted the students and handed them over to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies at a landfill in September last year.

But the independent experts said there was no scientific proof that the 43 students were incinerated at the landfill and they urged prosecutors to seek new lines of investigation.

Power said she was “hopeful” that Mexico’s openness to the independent panel’s recommendations and the deepening of judicial reform will lead to a restoration of full security aid.

Mexican security forces have faced several allegations of abuses.

This week, Human Rights Watch said witnesses saw federal police commit at least 11 extrajudicial killings in two separate incidents this year alone.

“The issues with the law enforcement, with public security, with the rule of law are not going to get resolved overnight,” Power said.

Read more stories on the missing students in Mexico here

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