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Mexico: News & Updates
Mexico shares a 2,000-mile border with its neighbor to the north. The US has played a significant role in militarizing the nation in misguided and ineffective policies to stop the flow of drugs and immigrants. Human rights abuses are prevalent throughout Mexico but especially in the southern, mostly indigenous states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Human rights defenders and indigenous community leaders—working to protect their ancestral lands and heritage—are targeted with threats, assaults, abductions and assassinations. Their struggles for peace and liberation are linked with those of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples throughout the hemisphere.
Learn more here.
December 8, 2021
“Although they are legally authorized to work, temporary migrant workers are among the most exploited laborers in the US workforce because employer control of their visa status leaves many powerless to defend and uphold their rights,” according to a February report from the Economic Policy Institute. The H-2A visa program creates a severe power imbalance. The system almost always ties workers to their specific employer, which means that a worker’s legal status to work depends on maintaining the job they were contracted to do. As such, workers are hesitant to speak out about deplorable working conditions due to fears of losing their legal status and facing deportation.
November 17, 2021
Thank you to the more than 120 people who attended the IRTF annual Commemoration of the Martyrs online on Sunday, November 7. You helped to create a beautiful and moving tribute to human rights defenders throughout southern Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Here you will find links to (1) Commemoration program book 2021, (2) Zoom recording of the event, (3) Facebook livestream recording, (4) playlist from the social hour, (5) an additional play list, (6) how you can add your name to urgent human rights letters, (7) donations for the Honduras support fund, (8) IRTF Legacy Circle planned giving fund, and (9) highlights from the speakers' presentations. Thank you!
August 31, 2021
In recent weeks Mexico has allowed the United States for the first time to begin sending Central American migrants deep into southern Mexico on Title 42 “expulsion flights.” From there, Mexican security forces load Central American adults and children onto buses and deport them. One Mexican official involved in talks with the United States described the flights as a more effective border management tool than the “Remain in Mexico” program because they relocates migrants away from Mexican border cities where they are vulnerable to attack and incentivized to attempt repeat crossings because of their proximity to the United States.
Migrant Justice: Organizations in Mexico and the United States demand an end to expulsions, Title 42
August 27, 2021
To the United States government, we demand: (1) Rescind the Title 42 order and all versions of its implementation, including lateral flights along the border and flights to southern Mexico. (2) Establish a process at the U.S.-Mexico border that is dignified and respectful of international law, in which unaccompanied families, adults and girls, boys and adolescents, can make their requests for protection immediately. This includes guaranteeing access to ports of entry. (3) Stand firm in the decision to terminate the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (Remain in Mexico, or MPP) and take all possible steps to put an end to this policy. (4) Continue the processing of people previously subjected to MPP, guaranteeing their stay in the interior of the United States to allow them to continue with their asylum process. (5) Cease pressuring governments of the region to take deterrence or enforcement actions, through the militarization and externalizing of their borders.
RRN Case Update
July 31, 2021
July 2021 - RRN Letters Summary
Please see below a summary of the letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: -protect people living under threat -demand investigations into human rights crimes -bring human rights criminals to justice IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn , or ask us to mail you hard copies.
July 19, 2021
Thousands of rural Guatemalans — as well as Salvadorans and Hondurans in agrarian areas — increasingly are leaving their communities. These days, migration — including the record number of unaccompanied children — is on the rise in rural areas, as an increasing portion of the country’s land and population faces the fallout from climate change.
July 6, 2021
At around 10:00am on July 5, Indigenous human rights defender Simón Pedro Pérez López was shopping with his youngest son at the outdoor market in Simojovel, Chiapas State, when an attacker riding on a motorcycle shot him in the head. The 35-year-old father of four was a catechist at Santa Catarina Catholic Church in Pantelhó municipality. Long active as a human rights defender in the highlands of Chiapas, last year he served as board president of Las Abejas de Acteal, a Christian, pacifist, anti-neoliberal grassroots organization. He recently accompanied Maya Indigenous Tzotzil residents who are requesting action from their local government to hold back armed groups who are extorting families and forcing some off their land. We are urging authorities to (1) investigate the assassination of Simón Pedro Pérez López, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice, (2) adopt protection measures for members of Las Abejas de Acteal (including members of the family of Simón Pedro Pérez López ), in strict accordance with their wishes, and (3) in consultation with members of Las Abejas de Acteal, take measures to dismantle criminal organizations that are operating in the Los Altos de Chiapas region. Simón Pedro, ¡presente! #JusticiaParaSimonPedro
July 3, 2021
The climate for journalists in Oaxaca is extremely dangerous. There is documentation of six journalists killed throughout Mexico in 2020; five of those were in Oaxaca. Journalist Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera is the latest victim. On June 17, two unidentified people driving a car near the town of Morro Mazatán, Oaxaca, crashed into him while he was traveling on a motorcycle with his 15-year-old son. Gustavo Sánchez and his son fell from the motorcycle. The attackers then exited their car and shot and killed Gustavo Sánchez, riddling him with bullets. The municipal police in Tehuantepec reported that at least 15 9-millimeter bullet casings were found at the scene of the crime. The journalist received at least one gunshot to the head. We are urging officials in Mexico to : (1) carry out a thorough, exhaustive and impartial investigation into the assassination of Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera, publish the results, and bring the perpetrators to justice; (2) review protection programs for reporters and human rights defenders, and take all necessary protection measures to guarantee the safety of journalists in Oaxaca, in strict accordance with their wishes; (3) conduct an internal investigation into why Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera had not yet received the protection assigned to him by the Mecanismo de Protección de la Secretaría de Gobernación
Migrant Justice: Strict Border Enforcement Policies Put Migrants in Harm’s Way. Title 42 Is No Exception.
May 26, 2021
*Thanks to The Marshall Project for the article and photos*
In fiscal year 2020, border encounters dropped by half while rescue rates doubled. Experts and humanitarian groups point to a Trump-era policy that continues today.
Migrant Justice: ICE announces it's cutting the Bristol County Detention Center's contract -- a huge win for the immigrant rights community
May 20, 2021
The FANG Collective and Detention Watch Network are celebrating the news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will cut the contract at the Bristol County Detention Center in Massachusetts. Along with the end of the Irwin Detention Center contract in Georgia, also announced today, this is the first time ICE has cut a contract for a detention center in recent years. The announcement signals a major win for people who’ve been detained at the facility and bravely spoken out against its abuses and for local organizations who have long fought to shut it down. The announcement comes five months after the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office found that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office violated the civil rights of currently detained people in ICE custody