On September 26, 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Teachers’ College, in Iguala, went missing after they were attacked by state police and gunmen. Three students were killed and forty three “disappeared.” The bodies of the disappeared students have never been found and the Mexican government has not undertaken a credible investigation into the disappearance. The families keep struggling to find out what happened to the students.
This atrocity is part of a landscape of violence and impunity carried out through alliances between elements of the Mexican state and organized crime. The search for the students has uncovered more than 15 mass graves in neighbouring areas of the state of Guerrero, none of them containing the bodies of the students. In response, a national movement of resistance has emerged.
Idle No More organizers stand in solidarity with the missing 43 students and their families and the Caravan to Ottawa delegation travelling to share their story of resistance and hope. Their struggle and search for their loved one’s resonates with us as we seek justice for the murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits in Canada. The murder of Indigenous people’s across the Americas is at epidemic proportions and it’s time for governments to take action to protect Indigenous lives.
Canada plays a critical role in supporting the Mexican state’s responsibility for the disappearances. In 2012, two way trade between Mexico and Canada totalled $20 billion. As a signatory to NAFTA, Mexico is Canada’s 5th largest export destination. Despite the human rights crisis in Mexico, Canada’s refugee system has deemed it a ‘safe country.’
Grand Chief Philip Stewart, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs calls out Canada’s involvement: “I call onThomas Mulcair, the leader of the official opposition to raise this issue in the house. I call on the Conservative government to make a statement about the situation in Mexico and cut off relations with Mexico until human rights are respected.”
Join Idle No More at the Public Forum With Leaders of Mexican Social Uprising – Ayotzinapa to Toronto as we join the delegation and lift our voices together and speak out against state violence.
April 29, 7pm: Public Forum With Leaders of Mexican Social Uprising – Ayotzinapa to Toronto at Ryerson University – 350 Victoria Street (@ Gould), Library Lecture Theatre, Room 72
– For further information about the caravan to Ottawa visit this page
For media requests contact:
– Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers, (416) 522-8615, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ottawa, April 28, 2015) The mother of one of 46 students from a teacher-training college in the Mexican community of Ayotzinapa who were killed or forcibly disappeared during a September 2014 attack by Mexican police and gunmen will testify before Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights this afternoon, along with a surviving student and a lawyer for the families of the victims.
Their goal is to make visible a disturbing pattern of grave abuses perpetrated by state security forces, and call for attention to serious failures on the part of government authorities to protect human rights in Mexico, a country that Canada has designated a so-called “safe country”.
The members of the Mexican delegation who will testify to Canadian MPs are:
- Hilda Legideño Vargas, whose son Jorge Antonio was forcibly disappeared in the September 2014 attack;
- Jorge Luis Clemente Balbuena, a student leader at the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college;
- Isidoro Vicario Aguilar, a Me’phaa indigenous lawyer with the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, an award-winning NGO that represents families affected by the September 2014 attack and a prior attack in December 2011, in which two other Ayotzinapa students were killed.
The three witnesses will testify to members of the MP Sub-committee on International Human Rights from 1 to 2 PM on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
Their appearance before the Subcommittee follows a tour through BC, Ontario, and Quebec to raise awareness about the attack on the Ayotzinapa students and an ongoing climate of danger for those who speak up about human rights violations in Mexico. The tour is supported by more than 50 organizations in Canada.
March 9, 2015. During the month of February, Mexico’s General Prosecutor’s Office (PGR) attempted to close the case of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa by arguing that, based on the testimonies from witnesses and evidence gathered in a landfill site in Cocula Guerrero, the students were incinerated by the criminal group Guerreros Unidos. The Argentine Forensic Team questioned this as they were not present during the collection of evidence in Cocula. The Forensic Team was also concerned about the possible manipulation of evidence in order to fit the PGR’s conclusions. Academics from Mexico’s National University also question the PGR’s argument and indicated that the physical evidence provided by the former contradicts the incineration argument. According to these experts, the burning of bone tissues requires special equipment, which was not available in the landfill site. Continue reading