PBI-Mexico supports joint statement opposing the harassment of journalists and migrant rights defenders in Chiapas

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Migrants march in Tapachula, Chiapas. Photo by Claudio Cruz/ AFP.

There are presently thousands of migrants that have been stopped in Tapachula, Chiapas near the Mexican border with Guatemala.

Reuters reports: “Many of the Central and Latin American migrants, including a large Haitian contingent, have been stuck for months in the city of Tapachula, complaining that authorities have stopped them from transiting through Mexico.”

“Mexican migration officials and military personnel have been criticized by rights groups for using violence to stem the flows of U.S.-bound migrants in the south of the country.”

Reuters also notes: “Mexican security officials were caught on video this month beating migrants trying to move out of Tapachula, sparking criticism from the United Nations human rights and refugee offices…”

This statement signed by Front Line Defenders, IM-Defensoras, the Center for Justice and International Law and others with the international observation of SweFOR Mexico and Peace Brigades International-Mexico expresses concern about this situation in Tapachula and incidents in nearby Mapastepec and Huixtla.

That statement says:

The signatory organisations express their deep concern over and the persistent climate of hostility and the recent increase in violence against migrants, journalists, and migrant rights defenders in the south-east of Mexico.

Since 28 August 2021, the National Guard and the INM [National Institute of Migration] have carried out regular joint operations to stop the transit of migrants attempting to leave Chiapas due to delays in the resolution of their migration regularisation or refugee procedures.

According to reports from organisations such as the Collective for Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in the Mexican Southeast (COMDHSE), the operations have been carried out violently and without adequate protocols that respect the rights and dignity of migrants. Human rights defenders who accompany migrants in their demands for their rights have experienced new waves of harassment by Mexican authorities.

These organisations [signing this statement] condemn the harassment of migrant rights defenders in this area by elements of the national authorities, and believe they are being targeted solely as a result of their legitimate and peaceful human rights work.

They also call for the respect for the human rights of all persons transiting Mexican territory, recalling that migrating and requesting refuge is a right guaranteed in the Mexican Constitution and in the international instruments to which Mexico is a party.

The full statement can be read at Harassment of journalists and migrant rights defenders in Chiapas.

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