On June 5th, Irineo Mujica, director of the organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) and defender of the human rights of migrants for 15 years, and Cristobal Sanchez, the first in Sonora and the second in Mexico City, were arrested for “their probable participation in the commission of possible crimes in the matter of migration”, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic (FGR in its Spanish acronym) reported. Both are accused of human trafficking under Article 159 of the Migration Law, allegedly for having introduced foreigners without documentation in Mexico and profiting from it.
For several years, the organization People Without Borders (PSF in its Spanish acronym), formed by Central American, Mexican and American lawyers and activists, supports migrants trying to reach the United States. It is not the first time that it has denounced an attempt of criminalization. The most recent was in February when the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, accused PSF of being one of those that “recruits” Central American migrants to participate in the caravans that have trie to cross Mexico to the United States since October 2018.
Human rights and support organizations for migrants, such as the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center and the Collective for Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in Southeast Mexico, denounced that these arrests represent “a form of criminalization against defenders of the human rights of migrants persons, who have carried out activities in the context of the migrant Exodus and undermines the right to defend rights. The arrests are added to a series of criminalizing statements made by the federal government against the Caravans, as well as the defenders who accompany them and who have participated in the documentation of human rights violations against migrants, all of which occurred in the context of political and economic pressure that the US government makes against the Mexican government to use all its armed strategies to “stop” migration from Central America.” They demanded respect for the due process rights of the two defenders.
Meanwhile, under pressure from US President Donald Trump, detention and deportation operations continue to stop irregular migration in southern Mexico. In the month of May alone, Mexico arrested 22,694 undocumented migrants, and deported 15,654. This last figure represents an increase of 119% compared to May last year and up to 220% compared to the same month in 2017.
For more information in Spanish:
FGR imputa delitos en materia migratoria a Irineo Mujica y Cristóbal Sánchez (Aristegui Noticias, 6 de junio de 2019)
¿Por qué detuvieron a Irineo y Cristóbal, defensores de derechos de migrantes? (Animal Político, 6 de junio de 2019)
(Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, 6 de junio de 2019)
Autoridades federales frenan a nueva caravana de migrantes; detienen a casi 400 personas en Chiapas (Animal Político, 5 de junio de 2019)
Presionado por Trump, México aumenta las detenciones y deportaciones de migrantes (The New York Times, 4 de junio de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)