(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.
Mexico Intelligence Agency Investigates Rights Defenders
From Telesur/Clayton Conn
Published 8 December 2014 (11 hours 51 minutes ago)
The agency has opened dossiers on human rights defenders counseling the families of the 43 Ayotzinapa students.
Mexico’s intelligence agency is investigating and potentially filing reports that criminalize human rights defenders and lawyers who counsel the families of the disappeared Ayotzinapa students according to a new report released on Monday.
The lengthy report entitled: “Ficha Cisen a abogado de normalistas” written in the electronic investigative journal, Reporte Indigo, shows that Mexico’s Center for Research and National Security (CISEN) – an equivalent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has opened dossiers on human rights defenders from the Human Rights Center of the Mountain “Tlachinollan” calling them “dangerous to governance.”
The report details that Vidulfo Rosales, lawyer and representative of the 43 families of the Ayotzinapa students as well as Tlachinollan’s director, Abel Barrera are “elements” that pose a “threat” to the government and that the two participate in “subversive” activities.
The two have been vocal supporters of the families and have played the authorized voice on behalf of the families during meetings with the Interior Secretary, Attorney General and even the Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
“It is outrageous that public resources are used to weaken the human rights movement instead of using intelligence capabilities to combat infiltration and corruption by narco-governments and guarantee that serious human rights violations do not go unpunished,” declared a public letter signed by over a dozen reputable human rights organizations.
“The proven track record of Vidulfo Rosales as a lawyer and Abel Barrera as director, in defending human rights, has been instrumental in the region to counter impunity and abuse of power for years. We condemn the federal government’s attempt to discredit and harass the defense work in this context of profound risk due to their support of the families of the 43 students forcibly disappeared in Iguala on September 26th and 27th, 2014,” continued the letter.
The Human Rights Center of the Mountain “Tlachinollan” has defended and counselled the majority impoverished indigenous and farm working communities of the “Montaña” region of Guerrero for years, gaining them considerable popular and base support in nearby communities.
Nine days after the grave human rights violations against the students of the Rural Teacher Training School of Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero by police forces of the municipality of Iguala, 43 students are still missing after being detained by members of the local police. The three levels of government of the Mexican state have not fulfilled their obligation in the immediate search for the disappeared with due process and according to international standards.
Tlachinollan Centre, the Guerrero Network of Human Rights Organizations and the Human Rights Centre José Ma. Morelos y Pavón recognize the efforts by the parents of the disappeared students in initiating investigations regarding the disappearance of their loved ones. Yet, the reach of their efforts remains limited because they do not have the necessary resources. Official investigations continue to be ineffective because of the lack of intelligence work prior to the collection of the evidence in the crime scene and the absence of analysis of the information provided by arrested police officers and the pattern of the operations of organized crime in the region.
From Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre (September 29th, 2014)
On September 26, 2014, three students from the Rural Teacher Training School of the town of Ayotzinapa were among six people murdered extrajudicially by the municipal police of Iguala, Guerrero. This is a continuation of violence against the students of this school. In 2011, two students from this school were victims of extrajudicial killings during a public demonstration for better and inclusive education and job opportunities.
On September 26th, 2014, 80 students from the Rural Teacher Training School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero boarded three buses to travel to the capital of the state after collecting funds for their underfunded school. Municipal police vehicles cut these buses off and started shooting at the passengers without warning, killing and injuring several others students.
Vidulfo Rosales, one of our speakers in the No More Blood Speaking Tour that took place in Canada in March 2012, works for Tlachinollan. This Human Rights Centre has recently presented a report on torture in the state of Guerrero. The situation of this state has been characterized by high levels of impunity, discrimination against indigenous communities and drug-related violence. Click here to access report in English Info CAT 49 -Tlachinollan – MEX (ENG)