On March 31st, just before 8:00 p.m., a small group of migrants at “La 72” migrant shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, began a protest to denounce the fact that they are unable to advance from their current whereabouts or return to their country of origin due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the riot one of the protesters set fire a mattress in one of the cells to draw attention to their demands. As a result, an asylum seeker from Guatemala lost his life and 14 other people were injured. According to witnesses, the National Guard and the State Police who were present complicated the evacuation of the migrants during the fire, refusing to open the cells and detaining them at the main entrance to prevent their flight. There were no more injuries because some migrants intervened and forced doors.
The National Institute of Migration (INM) for its part reported that “with the support of members of the National Guard and the Auxiliary, Banking, Industrial and Commercial Police assigned to the center, as well as state Civil Protection personnel, priority was given to eviction of said foreign persons to safeguard their physical integrity.”
“La 72” refuge denounced that “the death that occurred last night at the Tenosique Migration Center is the direct responsibility of the National Institute of Migration (INM) and its highest official, Francisco Garduño Yáñez, who did not want to attend to the roots of the protests in the Tapachula and Villahermosa Migration Centers the last week, and which already foreshadowed a possible tragedy.”
It should be recalled that the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) had expressed its “concern” about the “increase in people in the context of migration housed in migratory stations and provisional stays of the National Institute of Migration (INM)” a week earlier and had made a call for urgent actions to reduce overcrowding and a massive spread of coronavirus among migrants.
For more information in Spanish:
Muerte de migrante en Tabasco fue por la falta de acciones del INM: La 72 (Conexión Migrante el 1 de abril de 2020)
Los migrantes en México piden acciones ante el riesgo de contagio de coronavirus (Noticias Telemundo el 1 de abril de 2020)
Investigan muerte de solicitante de asilo en incendio; albergue La 72 responsabiliza al INM (Animal Político el 1 de abril de 2020)
Denuncian la muerte de un migrante en centro de detención de Tenosique (Proceso el 1 de abril de 2020)
Día 11: muerte en Tenosique (Milenio el 2 de abril de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula (October 17, 2019)
(October 8, 2019)