The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, was in Mexico from August 29th to September 9th of this year. During her stay in the country she visited Mexico City and the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero and Chiapas where she met with government officials, human rights organizations, civil society, internally displaced persons and communities affected by internal displacement.
“Internal displacement due to violence or disasters has existed for a long time in Mexico, although it has been recently recognized”, she noted prior to her visit and pointed out the importance of this tour to learn first-hand about the situation and to “collaborate with the government and other stakeholders in the prevention, response and lasting solutions to internal displacement.”
During her visit to Chiapas, during the meeting she held with civil society organizations, including the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), Caritas, Melel Xojobal, the Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFor) and SIPAZ , an update of the context was carried out in which it was noted that “forced displacement in Chiapas has had several causes from the 1960s to the present, for various reasons, including religious conflicts, development projects and natural disasters, as well as by generalized and socio-political violence of a counterinsurgent nature that left around 12,000 people displaced in the 1990s, after the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).”
We also report that currently, “the phenomenon may be rooted in old agrarian conflicts that began in the 1970s between different municipalities and/or Communal Assets of the Los Altos region, where armed groups with similar characteristics of action operate.”
Thus, it was suggested to “recommend and demand” that the Mexican State “respect the collective rights of indigenous peoples, particularly with regard to territory and autonomy.” Likewise, they raised the importance of “recommending/demanding that the physical integrity and protection of defenders who accompany victims of the phenomenon be guaranteed and that there be accountability on the part of the prosecutor’s offices in the face of progress in accordance with current regulations.”
At the end of his visit, back in Mexico City, she held a conference where she detailed what was observed and some of the data collected during these days and her team announced that the full report will be published in June 2023.
During the conference she highlighted “I have observed that the causes of displacement are diverse and multifactorial. Among them are different types of violence, often caused by organized crime, sometimes related to development projects, illegal mining and logging, or electoral, religious and agrarian conflicts.” She also mentioned that “the federal government does not have statistics, but some organizations, academics, and local authorities gave her estimates that there are between 350,000 and 400,000 internally displaced persons in Mexico.”
Some of the recommendations that she emphasized the most were the need to create a law that protects internally displaced persons, as well as a federal registry of victims of internal displacement. She urged the government to allocate an adequate and sustained budget to be able to provide people with displaced persons care, protection and lasting solutions.
“Although it is necessary to create a single federal registry of internally displaced persons, in addition to the registries at state level, it must not only include those who have been legally recognized, but also those who do not have that legal recognition, but are displaced in fact. Registration should not grant legal status, but should have the purpose of facilitating protection and humanitarian assistance in accordance with the individual and collective needs of internally displaced persons.”
Finally, she spoke about the work of civil society, religious and academic organizations, “I salute and recognize their fundamental role in the promotion, protection and defense of human rights, as well as the advocacy work that has made the situation of internal displacement visible in Mexico”.
For more information in Spanish:
Piden que México respete los derechos colectivos de los pueblos indígenas (12 de septiembre de 2022)
Experta de la ONU recomienda a México crear un registro federal de víctimas de desplazamiento interno (Noticias ONU 12 de septiembre de 2022)
ONU urge al gobierno de México crear ley para proteger a desplazados internos(Proceso 12 de septiembre de 2022)
Violencia y conflictos dejan cientos de miles de desplazados en México: relatora de la ONU (Animal Político 10 de septiembre de 2022)
Cierre de visita a México de la Relatora Especial ONU sobre DDHH de Desplazados Internos (Facebook ONUDH 09 de septiembre de 2022)
For more information from SIPAZ: