The parents of the 43 forcibly disappeared students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in Mexico kicked off a tour of several South American cities Sunday in Cordoba, Argentina, looking to raise awareness in the region about their ongoing struggle for justice.
“We are going to provide information and share with others the pain we feel in our souls as a result of being unable to find our children,” said Mario Cesar Gonzalez Contreras, father of one of the missing students.
Hilda Legideño Varga, mother of one of the missing students, said the objective of the tour is to “denounce the human rights violations that the Mexican government is committing against its own people.”
Mexico is currently confronting a grave human rights crisis, with the missing 43 students shedding light on a spate of abuses committed by state authorities. Federal and local police are also accused of participating in massacres in the cities of Tlatlaya and Apatzingan.
Mexican state officials say that local police officers arrested the missing students and subsequently turned them over to members of an organized crime group, which killed the students and burned the remains. The relatives of the missing student dispute this story and allege that Mexican security forces played a role in the disappearance of their children.
With over 7 months since the student were disappeared and the government declaring the case closed, the parents have struggled to keep the story in the headlines. They have previously toured throughout Mexico, the United States, and Canada, in order to keep spreading information about the campaign to find their children.
“If we need to go to the edge of the Earth to find our little ones, we are going to do it,” said Gonzalez.
The tour, which is being funded through donations, will visit several cities in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina and will conclude June 13. The parents will also be joined by a survivor of last year’s Sept. 26 attack, which, apart from forcibly disappearing 43 students, left 6 dead and 25 injured.