We will not be divided. Our movement will not be broken.
Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico
December 18, 2023
We, the mothers and fathers of the 43 forcibly disappeared students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos School in Ayotzinapa have been witness to the unfounded accusations and defamations by the President of the Republic against members of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center and other civil society organizations that have supported us in demanding the recovery of our children alive. We condemn these lies and affirm our support and approval of their handling of our case and all similar cases.
For almost a full decade, we, the mothers and fathers of the Ayotzinapa 43, have worked closely with Agustín Pro rights defenders and can attest to their commitment to advance our case and the cases of other victims of forced disappearance throughout Mexico faithfully and in accordance with all laws. In the most difficult of times, the Agustín Pro Center has been there encouraging us to pursue the truth, when so many others opted to stand by in silence. This includes the previous government’s farcical public presentation of the so-called “historical truth” of our case and their obstruction of justice.
The Agustín Pro Center has been fundamental in demonstrating the fabrications in the “historical truth” pronouncements put forth by the Mexican government. Thanks to their work, we know that their account of Ayotzinapa case was based on statements made by individuals under duress of torture. These statements were subsequently determined to be false by the 19th Circuit First Collegiate Court of Reynosa, Tamaulipasin 2017, which also recognized our status as victims and the violation of our rights. Those proceedings also led to the creation of an Investigative Commission for Truth and Justice for the case of Iguala and the Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa case (CoVAJ), which we celebrate as victories in our struggle.
It goes without saying that our lawyers demanded the release of those initially detained for the crimes carried out in Ayotzinapa. Nevertheless, it was the work of State Prosecutor Omar Gómez Trejo and the Agustín Pro Center that unearthed the murky and illegal investigative proceedings that led to the construction of the so-called “historical truth” and the release of those who were made into scapegoats for the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43. Thanks to their work, the investigation was redirected towards those that needed to be held accountable.
It is worth recalling that the Army refused the demand of the mothers and fathers of the Ayotzinapa 43 in September of this year to hand over relevant information in its possession. Subsequently, then-Undersecretary of Human Rights Alejandro Encinas ultimately recognized that the army was indeed in possession of this information and that the President has given instruction that it be made available for investigation.However, since Encina’s departure from government, this matter has not only been ignored, but the President has also engaged in a pattern of attacks and disqualifications against the organizations that support and advise the mothers and fathers of the 43 students.
Having established the aforementioned, the accusations that have been leveled against members of the Agustín Pro Center amount to nothing less than an abhorrent slander tactic orchestrated from the highest level of government. Its objectives are to (1) distract the general public’s attention away from the main present issue: the Mexican army’s refusal to provide information related to the Ayotzinapa crimes and the whereabouts of our children, and (2) divide the group of mothers and fathers of the 43 students and thereby weaken our bonds with civil society and human rights organizations that fight for the truth.
We, the mothers and fathers of the Ayotzinapa 43, thus come together to communicate to the government that they will not be divide or dissuade us. We have been through this before. We stayed united as the government tried to discredit the Special Group of Independent Experts, our lawyers, and even us, and we now remain dignified, committed, and strong in demanding the recovery of our children alive. Our conviction to see this case brought to full justice will not change, nor will it change for our team of advisors and representatives, who are guided by professionalism and justice.
No government action can diminish our unity or lead us to abandon our legitimate demands for the return of our children alive and for the Mexican army to do what is legal and right.
Being as such, we reaffirm the following demand to:
Committee of Mothers and Fathers of the Ayotzinapa 43