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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Case of Mexico's 43 Disappeared Students: The Group of Experts Report

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 4:30pm
Rayburn 2200


Briefing Series on Accountability

Please join Representatives Alan Lowenthal and Norma Torres, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Ranking Member Albio Sires, and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing by the Group of Experts who have been working on the investigation into the September 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican students from a rural teachers’ college. 

Following discussions between the Government of Mexico, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the legal representatives of the students’ families, the IACHR appointed the experts in November 2014 to assist the Mexican government with the investigation. 

On April 24, 2016, the Group of Experts released its final report, which provided a series of recommendations to the Government of Mexico on how to move forward with the investigation.  The report also documented a disturbing lack of cooperation from the government, including unmet interview requests, as well as the strong possibility that evidence was tampered with and suspects were tortured.  To round out the discussion on the state of the investigation, we will also be joined by Santiago Aguirre, a lawyer from the Mexican human rights organization Centro Prodh, who represents the students’ families.

Why this discussion is important:  The case of the 43 missing students represents a microcosm of the state of rule of law in Mexico today; the cases of tens of thousands of other disappeared people remain unresolved.  Mexico is our neighbor, a constitutional democracy, and one of our most important trade partners.  We are at a crossroads, and must work together to effectively address a wide range of issues, including border management and regional migration flows, promoting human rights, combatting organized crime,  and protecting public health from the Zika virus. 

Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and media are invited to attend this important briefing.  For any questions, please contact Chris De Angelis and Kolby Keo for Rep. Lowenthal at (202) 225-7924 or or

Hosted by:

Alan Lowenthal, M.C.
Member, TLHRC
Norma Torres, M.C.
Co-Chair, Central America Caucus
Member, TLHRC
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Albio Sires, M.C.
Ranking Member, HFAC/WHEM
Member, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Member, TLHRC
    Written remarks
  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC
    Written remarks


Members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GEIE)

  • Claudia Paz y Paz, Former Attorney General of Guatemala (Guatemala)
  • Francisco Cox Vial, Criminal and constitutional lawyer and professor at the University of Diego Portales (Chile)
  • Carlos Beristain, Physician and psychologist specializing in work with victims of human rights violations (Spain)
  • Angela Buitrago, Former prosecutor before the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice (Colombia)


  • Clare Seelke, Specialist in Latin American Affairs, Congressional Research Service

Closing Remarks

  • Santiago Aguirre, Lawyer for the victims’ families, Centro Prodh


114th Congress