Monday October 24, 2016

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Three representatives of parents of 43 missing Mexican college students will visit the University of Dayton Tuesday, Nov. 1, to discuss how U.S. policies on free trade, the drug war and immigration affect human rights in Mexico.

The students of a teacher's college in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, went missing Sept. 26-27, 2014, after local and federal law enforcement officials in the nearby town of Iguala allegedly handed the students over to a local drug gang.

Human rights experts from the United Nations, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, and independent organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believe the Mexican government has been negligent and inept in handling the case, according to Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, executive director of the University of Dayton Human Rights Center.

"The delegation will discuss the case and how it reflects the human costs and impact of U.S. policies in Mexico, which have driven Mexico into an unprecedented human rights crisis under President Enrique Peña Nieto. These students come from Mexico's poorest communities, which are precisely the ones most likely to generate mass migration to the United States," Pérez-Bustillo said. "U.S. policies have dangerous implications for Mexico's stability and undermine the U.S. commitment to promoting human rights and peace throughout Latin America."

Two of the parents of the missing students, Mario César González Contreras and Antonio Tizapa, and the parents' spokesperson, Felipe de la Cruz Sandoval, will discuss these topics from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Keller Hall Courtroom in the University School of Law. It is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.  Parking is available in B Lot with a pass picked up at the visitor center on College Park Center.

While at the University of Dayton, the delegation also will visit the Human Rights Center and human rights studies and religious studies classes, and meet with philosophy students. The delegation also will attend the University's 12:30 p.m. daily Mass.

Their visit coincides with Day of the Dead and All Souls Day commemorations in Mexico and Hispanic communities in the United States.

The delegation is touring colleges and universities to reach students who can influence future public and economic policy as well as faculty and scholars who are part of research pools and think tanks for legislative bodies, Pérez-Bustillo added. Other stops include Cal Berkeley, Northwestern and the University of Michigan.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for students and other members of our academic community to hear from victims of widespread human rights violations in Mexico that challenge our conscience and obligation to respond to human suffering," Pérez-Bustillo said. "We are humbled and honored the tour considers the University and the Human Rights Center among those that can affect change in the world."

Pérez-Bustillo will lead a 10-person human rights delegation to Mexico Nov. 11-20; they will visit Ayotzinapa during the trip.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.

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