Mexico has been designated as a lawless state, a human rights group said Thursday.

“Mexico is a country where the rule of law is used exclusively to explain and justify inaction and negligence from government and elected representatives,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division.

Vivanco’s remarks come in the wake of an investigation into the disappearance of 43 students from a rural teaching college on Sept. 26 in Iguala, in southwest Mexico, after a clash with police.

The case has been an embarrassment for President Enrique Pena Nieto who has claimed a reduction in crime since taking office.

The ensuing investigation has revealed state and municipal officials with connections to organized crime and the mayor of Iguala and his wife were arrested earlier this week after being on the run just days after the disappearances.

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