Human rights groups and migrants' rights activists criticized the failure to convict anyone in connection with the massacre of 72 migrants in August 2010 at a ranch outside San Fernando, a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

"We will not allow this massive crime against humanity to join others in which impunity and indifference have prevailed," Clemencia Correa, of the Autonomous University of Mexico City, said, reading from a joint statement released Tuesday by several non-governmental organizations.

Migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil died in the Aug. 23, 2010, massacre, which has been blamed on Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel.

The massacre "was the predictable and preventable result" of erroneous "migratory and security" policies implemented by the Mexican state, the activists said.

Mexico has promoted "conditions of militarization, vulnerability and criminalization of migrants," whose rights "have been systematically violated by state authorities at all levels" of government "in complicity with organized crime (groups)," the activists said.

"It is shameful that none of the arrested Zetas has been punished," Fray Francisco de Vitoria Human Rights Center director Miguel Concha said.

The Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion U.S.-Mexican security cooperation pact aimed at fighting drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, should be scrapped, Concha said.

The security agreement "ties up the self-determination" of Mexico by making it pursue migratory and other policies that are solely in the interest of Washington, Concha said.

Government officials, meanwhile, held a separate press conference to mark the massacre anniversary.

The massacre "will remain etched in the minds of many Mexicans because of the way it occurred," Deputy Population, Migration and Religious Affairs Secretary Rene Zenteno said.

"More than 81 people" have been "arrested to clear up what happened," Zenteno said, adding that officials had "made significant progress" in the case.

"The three intellectual and material authors are already under arrest. In addition, arrest warrants have been issued for eight people charged in the massacre," all of them members of Los Zetas, Zenteno said.

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