Press Release

IACHR Makes Official Technical Cooperation Agreement about Ayotzinapa Students in Mexico

November 18, 2014

Washington, DC - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed today an addendum in Mexico City that makes official last week’s signing of a declaration of intent with the State of Mexico and the representatives of the missing students of Ayotzinapa. In this manner and starting from today, the agreement is formalized and in force. Through this agreement, the Commission will designate an Interdisciplinary Group to provide technical assistance in the search for the missing students, the investigation and actions adopted to punish the perpetrators, and assistance to the families of the students.

"For the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this historic agreement is of fundamental importance in the sense that it represents a key opportunity to advance in solving a structural issue that Mexico has been experimenting for years: forced disappearances" said the President of the Commission, Commissioner Tracy Robinson. "The main objective is to solve the underlying structural problems to these disappearances, not only the cases involving the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, but other cases, which unfortunately are many."

For its part, the IACHR Rapporteur for Mexico, Commissioner James Cavallaro, who was present today formalizing the agreement at the ceremony held in Mexico City, said that "it is essential to advance in the investigations of the case of Ayotzinapa, and our technical cooperation will be aimed at determining the whereabouts of the 43 missing students, punishing the perpetrators, and assisting the families of the victims integrally. Also, our intention is that the agreement that we have finalized today help us solve the root causes of the forced disappearances to put an end to them, once and for all."

The finalization of the agreement was signed by the Commission, represented by the Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, the State of Mexico, represented by Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, and beneficiaries of the precautionary measure that was granted by the IACHR to the Ayotzinapa students, represented by Mario Pattern of Human Rights Centre Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centre PRODH).

"We believe this is a key moment in the contemporary history of Mexico since it represents an opportunity to attack the root of this structural problem that has represented a tragedy for each of the thousands of victims of forced disappearances that have taken place in recent years, for their family, for their loved ones and for all Mexico," said Emilio Alvarez Icaza after the formalization of the agreement." The Commission wants to be part of this historic moment in order to assure that this opportunity is not wasted and to take advantage of its transformative capacity of a reality that has to change urgently. That’s why we sign this agreement. Because the Commission is convinced of the urgent and vital need to end forced disappearances, and that the breakpoint is not next month or tomorrow, but today."

The ceremony was attended by Commissioner James Cavallaro, parents of missing students, students’ representatives from the Rural Normal School "Raúl Isidro Burgos" Ayotzinapa, representatives of the Attorney General's Office and the Interior Ministry.

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. 136/14