U.S. presses Mexico to make progress in missing students case

Relatives hold pictures of some of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa College during a march in Mexico City to mark the one-year anniversary of their disappearance Oct. 26, 2015. (Carlos Jasso / Reuters)
Relatives hold pictures of some of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa College during a march in Mexico City to mark the one-year anniversary of their disappearance Oct. 26, 2015. (Carlos Jasso / Reuters)

By Michelle Mark / International Business Times

Mexico must make headway on human rights cases such as an incident involving 43 missing students last year, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations urged Thursday.

Ambassador Samantha Power met for three days with Mexico’s foreign minister, attorney general and citizen’s groups for judicial reform to discuss security cooperation.

“It is extremely important that progress be made on these cases, some of which are iconic cases but many of which are ones that never make the headlines,” Power said. “(If) resources are dedicated and accountability is achieved, that sends a really important signal.”

Prosecutors have alleged that municipal police in Iguala, Mexico, were responsible for kidnapping 43 college students and handing them over to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their remains at a landfill. But an independent group of experts found no proof after six months of investigating that the bodies had been cremated. The incident prompted international outrage and pressure from human rights groups on the Mexican government to launch a new investigation.


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Mexico to follow global transparency model for new airport work

Activists say data currently available on public contracts in Mexico is incomplete.
Activists say data currently available on public contracts in Mexico is incomplete.

By Michael O’Boyle /Reuters

Mexico’s government, tarnished by a conflict-of-interest row over its links to public contractors, said it would follow new global transparency standards in awarding bids for a $13 billion airport.

President Enrique Pena Nieto told government officials and transparency advocates from around the world that he would increase efforts to shed light on public procurement practices.

The new Mexico City airport will follow the “open contracting data standard” designed by World Bank officials and transparency experts and is the first project of its size to apply the measure, he told a conference in the capital.

As a global standard, it would enable independent auditors to scrutinize better how the project is executed.

Implementing the new standard would be a “paradigm shift,” said Eduardo Bohorquez, director of watchdog Transparencia Mexicana. The measure would require information to be released on the planning, the tender process and implementation.

Public information is currently only available on the tender, and analysts complain data is incomplete.

“Let’s see what happens, but as a starting point this is good news,” Bohorquez said.


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