UN rights office urges Mexico to consider recommendations on case of missing

“The Iguala case shows the crucial role that international cooperation can play in helping States to fight impunity for serious human rights violations,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a press briefing earlier today in Geneva. Mr. Colville said that OHCHR commended the “invaluable work” of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) in Mexico on the six killings and the missing students from the Ayotzinapa teacher-training college in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The IGIE, which was appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and invited by the Mexican Government to follow up on the investigation of the case, published an 605-page report on Sunday. Mr. Colville noted that as High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stressed during his mission to Mexico last October, 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.” Welcoming the willingness expressed by the President of Mexico and the Attorney-General’s Office to take into serious consideration the Group’s recommendations, Mr. Colville urged them to “fully explore the new lines of inquiry suggested by the Group, and to strengthen the investigations into this emblematic case.” He also said that OHCHR was concerned about the “many challenges and obstacles” reported by the experts that may have prevented certain lines of inquiries from being further explored, including regarding the roles and responsibilities of the military and other official authorities. “We call on the Government to ensure effective follow-up to the investigation report and to tackle the broader structural challenges it has exposed. We also encourage the Government to engage with the follow-up mechanism that the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has announced that it will establish,” Mr. Colville said. In other news, the spokesperson said OHCHR has deplored the confirmation of the death sentence for apostasy against a Mauritanian blogger, Mohammad Ould M’Kaitir, by the appellate court on 21 April. Mr. Ould M’Kaitir was convicted in the first instance by the criminal court in Nouadhibou in December 2014 for an article he had published online. He had expressed repentance on several occasions since, including during the appeals hearing, Mr. Colville said. “We should like to stress that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Mauritania became a State party in 2004, the death penalty, if not abolished, can only be applied for the most serious crimes,” the spokesperson said. “We hope that the Supreme Court, which has now been seized with the case, will overturn the death sentence against Mr. Ould M’Kaitir,” he added.