Mexico: Abuses in displacement of migrants in Tenosique are denounced

Displaced persons in Tenosique @ Centro ProDH

On 9 January at 5am there was carried out an operation in a farm on the border of the Nuevo Progreso ejido in Tenosique, Tabasco, in which were forcibly displaced 36 Guatemalan families–about 260 persons, including 115 minors–who had been seeking refuge in the community.  They had installed themselves there four months ago, after being displaced by the military in their country.

In this operation participated some 300 units of the police, Public Ministries, and municipal police; some of them were dressed as civilians, and on the orders of these authorities there was found a person who claimed to be the Regional Subdelegate of the National Institute on Migration.

According to testimony, “the authorities arrived in trucks and patrols to the camp and began to dismantle it with an excess of violence.”  Upon rejecting these actions and demanding explanations for them, the residents of the camp were detained.

Fray Tomás González, director of the Usumacinta Center for Human Rights, reported that “The federal [police] closed off the road and encircled the place; the strategy was first to detain the minors so that the adults would not flee.  Regardless, some 70 individuals succeeded in escaping.”  He added that the agents refused the exit of residents of the place so as to avoid that they report to human-rights defenders.

According to data that has been released, 71 persons were placed on four buses and driven to the migrant station in Tapachula, Chiapas.  It should be noted that a Spaniard was also detained, but this person’s whereabouts are unknown.

In light of the violent operation, different organizations such as the Prodh Center and the National Network of Human-Rights Organizations All Rights for All accused the Mexican authorities of violating the rights of the displaced and behaving cruelly and inhumanely; for this reason, they urgently demanded the avoidance of operations of this type, the guarantee for the security and dignified treatment of the displaced, as well as the presentation of those persons whose whereabouts are unknown.

Antecedents: On 23 August, the community Nueva Esperanza was forced to abandon its land due to operations by the Guatemalan army and the National police.  During the displacement, the houses, school, and church of the community were burned.  Consequently, 300 residents, including more than a hundred children and several pregnant women, sought refuge on the other side of the border with Mexico, in the community of Nuevo Progreso, Tabasco.

For more information (in Spanish):

Desalojo de familias guatemaltecas en Tenosique, Tabasco  (Accion Urgente Red TDT, 9 January 2012)

Violento desalojo del INM contra guatemaltecos desplazados (Cencos, 10 January 2012)

Denuncian abusos en desalojo de campamento de migrantes en Tenosique (La Jornada, 10 January 2012)

Exigen ONG en Tabasco destitución de titular de INM (La Jornada 10 January 2012)

Acción Urgente: Comunidad de desplazados guatemaltecos es detenida por autoridades (Accion Urgente Centro ProDH, 10 January 2012)

Tabasco: desaloja INM a refugiados (El Universal, 10 January 2012)

Denuncian desalojo en refugio de migrantes (El Universal, 10 January 2012)

Desalojan a guatemaltecos del territorio mexicano (Milenio, 10 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Tabasco: “The forgotten border” press-conference (13 December 2011)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)

Mexico: Caravan for Peace concludes after journeying to Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla (28 September 2011)

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