Monday, July 15, 2024
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International support for disappeared Mexican students

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There is now intense international campaigning on behalf of the 43 Ayotzinapa College students disappeared and almost certainly killed by police and/or drug cartel members in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The discovery of mass burials of human remains in in graveyards in the region of Cerro Viejo and La Parota and a dump in the town of Cocula, led local people to believe that this was the killing place. However, according to Telesur, investigation by the renowned Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) has reported that human remains analyzed so far do not belong to the students. There is an international petition at: http://ayotzinapasomostodos.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/english/ A draft letter (below) to members of the UK parliament is being widely circulated, with UK readers invited to adapt the text and send it to their own constitutency MP. Dear [MP’s name], I am writing to you out of deep concern about recent events in Mexico and the disappearance and likely murder of 43 students from Ayotzinapa College, Guerrero. Please raise the matter with Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and, if possible, also sign the Early Day Motion at http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/469. The details are as follows: On September 26 2014, police opened fire on a group of students in the town of Iguala, Guerrero. Six people were killed, including passers-by, and betweenSeptember 26 and 27, 43 students went missing while in police custody. These events have aroused horror and outrage within Mexico and internationally. Thousands took part in protests demanding the safe return of the students, who were studying to be teachers at Ayotzinapa Rural Training College. This matter is not just a Mexican concern, but is also of utmost urgency for the UK. In June 2014, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and the United Kingdom signed an agreement to extend cultural and economic relations between the two countries. In August 2014, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office issued a related report supporting increased UK investment in Mexico and proposing to double bilateral trade. Additionally, 2015 has been declared as the year of Mexico in the UK and the year of the UK in Mexico. A month after their disappearance, the whereabouts of the missing students are still unknown. Despite widespread calls for justice, the Mexican state has failed to carry out a rigorous investigation of the crime. Authorities have still not properly identified 38 bodies found in mass graves near the site of the attack, although it now appears that these may not belong to the Ayotzinapa students. Both José Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala, and his wife have known links to drug traffickers. They went on the run, but have now been arrested. The case has exposed the extent of corruption in Mexico and the collusion between organized crime and the state, in spite of current President Enrique Peña Nieto’s claims to the contrary. Drug cartels have de facto control of large parts of government apparatus, from local police forces to city and state governments. Thousands of Mexican citizens have been disappeared and killed in Mexico since 2006, when former President Felipe Calderón militarized the country as part of the so-called ‘war on drugs’. As a citizen of Britain and a resident of [xxx] constituency, I urge you to demand that the British Government call for a thorough, reliable, and transparent investigation of events in Iguala. This should be overseen by experts and international observers in order to bring justice for the missing students’ families. Additionally, and given the evident corruption and influence of criminal organizations in political and business circles, I ask you ensure that bilateral trade between the UK and Mexico is predicated on the assumption that basic human rights are guaranteed in the country. The UK must follow the example of the EU, which has suspended the process of extending the 2008 “Global Agreement” with Mexico until human rights are upheld. Finally, I ask that the British Government not only ensures the protection of British nationals and companies operating in Mexico, but positively encourages the Mexican government to decrease the state of violence in the country through non-military approaches and place the protection of Mexican citizens at the centre of its political agenda. Yours Sincerely,

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