Press Release

IACHR Extends Mandate of Interdisciplinary Group of Experts

August 28, 2015

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) decided to extend the mandate of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for two months. The group was appointed by the IACHR in the context of the agreement signed with the State of Mexico and representatives of the 43 students who disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Mexico.

The members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts are Carlos Martín Beristain, Angela Buitrago, Francisco Cox Vial, Claudia Paz y Paz, and Alejandro Valencia Villa. The agreement—signed in November 2014 by the IACHR, the Mexican State, and representatives of the missing Ayotzinapa students— established the main activities to be carried out by the Interdisciplinary Group: draw up plans to search for the missing students alive; do a technical analysis of the lines of investigation to determine criminal liabilities; and do a technical analysis of the Plan for Integral Attention to the Victims of the Events of September 26 and 27, 2014.

Given that March 2, 2015, is considered the formal starting date of the Interdisciplinary Group’s activities, the current mandate would end on September 2, pursuant to the provisions established in the Technical Assistance Agreement. The presentation of the group’s Final Report of Activities will take place in Mexico City on September 6, 2015.

The IACHR has decided to extend the mandate for two months. Among other tasks, this will allow the Interdisciplinary Group to receive and process any comments and observations to the Final Report. Observations may be submitted by the State, civil society organizations, and victims, among others. The State and the representatives will have until September 15 to give their opinion on the possible renewal of the Interdisciplinary Group’s mandate.

“We recognize the important work the Interdisciplinary Group has done so far,” said IACHR President Rose-Marie Antoine. “Now we believe it is vitally important to find out how the State and all of Mexican society will react to the Interdisciplinary Group’s Final Report. We expect the report will be a significant international contribution to efforts to strengthen the Mexican State’s institutional capacity to search for and find victims of forced disappearance, as well as to strengthen the institutional capacity to prevent this serious crime,” she added.

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.

No. 099/15