UN office 'concerned' over Mexico missing students case

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Mexico City, Apr 27: The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it is troubled by a group of international experts' complaints of obstacles to their investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico.

Spokesman Rupert Colville yesterday said in a statement that the office is "concerned about the many challenges and obstacles reported by the experts," including the ability to examine other lines of investigation such the possible roles of the military and other officials in the case.

United Nations

He called on the Mexican government to "take into serious consideration" the recommendations of the group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The group's report from Sunday criticised the government's investigation of the 2014 disappearances.

It said suspects were apparently tortured and key pieces of evidence were not investigated or handled properly. In a partial study of detainee records, the experts found there was evidence that all 17 detainees included in the study sample had been tortured.

Yesterday, Mexico's governmental National Human Rights Commission said it was investigating 47 complaints from detainees that they were tortured. Four others complained of mistreatment and 11 cited illegal arrest. Mexico's deputy attorney general for human rights, Eber Betanzos, said yesterday that his office had received a total of 32 torture complaints, and that a total of nine investigations had been opened into the torture allegations.

The numbers vary because of who the complaints were filed with, and how much proof was presented. Government investigators have said the students were taken by local police in the city of Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, and handed over to drug gang members who killed them and burned the bodies at a trash dump.

The group of experts, known by the acronym IGIE, and a separate body made up of Argentine investigators say there is no evidence at the dump of a fire large enough to incinerate that many corpses. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Sunday via Twitter that the federal attorney general's office would "analyse the whole report, to aid in its investigations."

Colville called the group's work "invaluable" and urged the government to explore new lines of investigation. "It is very important that the Government acts decisively on the IGIE's recommendations and ensures the rights to truth and justice of the victims and their families," Colville said. The United States also called on Mexico to consider the experts' recommendations. 

AP

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