Originally published in CAAT Blog
Last month, CAAT joined Mexican activists for a protest outside the Mexican embassy in London. In this article, London Mexico Solidarity explains why they were protesting.
Four years have passed since 43 students were disappeared in Guerrero, southwest Mexico, by different state agents acting in collusion with the organised crime.
The student’s whereabouts remain unknown while impunity reigns over a case that reveals the complexity and atrocity that Mexico’s ongoing human rights crisis may reach.
With more than 40,000 people disappeared and more than 200,000 violently murdered, the so called ‘war on drugs’, enforced by the government since 2006, has proved to be a failed and brutal security strategy in which human rights abuses have come to be common currency.
In a country which is only able to solve less than .9 percent of crimes, disappearances and extrajudicial killings are widespread, while manipulation of evidence and torture are common practices to close cases, especially those related to violence against human rights defenders, activists, students and political groups contesting the government’s agenda.
Particularly worrying is the extremely serious allegations of sexual torture against women.
All of this is exemplified in the case of the 43 students from the rural teacher-training school of Ayotzinapa, who were attacked by different police forces under the gaze of the army, and then handed over to drug-traffickers. The official investigation concluded that the students were burned down to ashes and then thrown away into a river in plastic bags.
Having concluded that the official investigation is based on torture and the manipulation of evidence, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances have called on the Mexican government to clarify the events of September 26 and the 43’s whereabouts.
It is also forcing them to determine whether (and to what extent) some authorities have obstructed the pursuit of justice and hidden relevant information on this crime against humanity.
Critical to London Mexico Solidarity is the role that the international community plays in this case and, more broadly, in Mexico’s human rights crisis.
With a huge increase in arm sales from the UK to Mexico in 2015 and the sharp rise of arms exports from the US, Germany and other European countries (some of them used in Guerrero in spite of existing clauses that prohibit their use in that and other regions in Mexico), the global arms market is profiting from this conflict. Despite the disappearances and abuses taking place, the arms sales have continued. In the last three years the UK has licensed £165 million worth of military equipment to Mexico.
Meanwhile, international banks, such as HSBC-London, are partaking in money-laundering. In 2012 HSBC was fined almost $2 billion for money laundering cases in Mexico.
The Ayotzinapa case has been met with the resistance and the dignity that persists in the struggle of their parents and fellow students, who call us to keep on the demand for the presentation alive of the 43. With them, we do not forget. We join them in campaigning to reclaim justice and truth.