National/International: US-Mexico Migration Deal Halts Imposition of Tariffs

June 17, 2019



One week after the threat of US President Donald Trump to apply a 5% tax on Mexican products if Mexico did not curb irregular immigration, both countries reached an agreement on June 7th that “indefinitely” suspends these tariffs. In return, Mexico promised to take “strong measures” to contain the migratory flow, something that began the day before the agreement by announcing that the border with Guatemala will be strengthened by sending 6,000 members of the newly created National Guard.

The agreement also specifies that Mexico will take “decisive measures to dismantle the trafficking and smuggling organizations of people, as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks. In addition, the United States and Mexico are committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation, including the exchange of information and coordinated actions to better protect and secure our common border.”

It further details that “those who cross the southern border of the United States to seek asylum will be quickly returned to Mexico, where they can wait for the adjudication of their asylum applications” while “Mexico will authorize the entry of all those persons for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while waiting for the adjudication of their asylum applications. Mexico will also offer employment, health and education according to its principles.” “The United States is committed to work to accelerate the adjudication of asylum applications and conclude removal procedures as quickly as possible,” the agreement also states.

It informs that in the event that the adopted measures do not have the expected results, they will take other measures “and will continue their discussions on the terms of additional understandings to address the flows of irregular migrants and asylum issues, which will be completed and announced within 90 days, if necessary.”

The pact does not include the controversial “third safe country” clause that the Mexican government had affirmed that it would not accept in any case. Finally, the United States supported the integral development plan for the region promoted by the Mexican government in coordination with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras: “The United States and Mexico will lead the work with regional and international partners to build a more prosperous and safer Central America to address the underlying causes of migration, so that the citizens of the region can build better lives for themselves and their families at home”, the statement concludes.

For more information in Spanish:

México enviará a la Guardia Nacional a la frontera sur y asilará a los migrantes que le devuelva EU (Proceso, 7 de junio de 2019)

Canciller de México detalla acuerdo entre México y EE.UU. con el que se evitaron los aranceles (CNN México, 7 de junio de 2019)

Suspensión de aranceles elimina afectación a exportaciones mexicanas (La Jornada, 7 de junio de 2019)

Guerra de aranceles: México enviará 6.000 efectivos de la Guardia Nacional a la frontera con Guatemala para tratar de contener la migración (BBC, 7 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:   

National/International: Two Defenders of Migrant Human Rights Arrested (June 11, 2019)     

Chiapas/National/International: Observation Mission Concludes “Southern Border Is Silent Torture”(June 9, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

Chiapas: First Deployment of National Guard in Chiapas at Siglo XXI Migration Center (May 23, 2019)


National: Absence of President Lopez Obrador at Presentation of CNDH Report “Disheartening for the Defense of Human Rights”

June 9, 2019

CNDHLuis Raul Gonzalez Perez (@Tribuna)

At a press conference held on June 3rd, the president of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, lamented that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had not found a space in his agenda to receive personally the 2018 annual report of the agency’s activities. This occurred for the first time in the history of the CNDH (which is almost 29 years old) when, in general, an official ceremony was organized in the presence of the president, representatives of civil organizations, and other officials.

The ombudsman reported that, despite the repeated requests of the CNDH to have an event of this nature, the federal government responded that the report would be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, which occurred on the same day as the conference.

Gonzalez Perez lamented that “facts, actions and omissions are beginning to accumulate that, taken as a whole, would make us suppose that seeking the validity of human rights is not being taken on as a premise and limit of all public actions, nor are they adopting relevant measures to reverse the situation that, for several years, our country has faced in various areas.” He affirmed that the previous format, “opened a direct and immediate space so that the CNDH could present before the Federal Executive an annual report on the situation of the same, as well as to reflect, prospectively, on the challenges and situations that demanded special attention for the year in progress, issues that in this 2019 could not materialize, having not generated a space for human rights to be heard.”

Anyway, the ombudsman presented the report of activities 2018 that highlights several areas of concern. In the health sector, and in references to the austerity measures taken by the government, he stressed that, “there are areas in which the allocation of public resources cannot only depend on economic calculations or administrative weights, such as public health services.” He emphasized that, “weakening or rendering public health systems inoperative implies a violation of human rights.”

In terms of security and justice, and after referring to homicides, the head of the CNDH stressed that the outlook “is also far from positive, unless there is a radical change in the approach and magnitude of the institutional response to problems and security needs of people.” He also spoke of “the need to address the crisis that Mexico is experiencing in terms of violence and insecurity, under a comprehensive approach, based on a strategy that prioritizes prevention and is not limited to the rethinking of an eminently reactive body, as is the National Guard, as well as the increase of the crimes to which the mandatory preventive prison would be applicable.”

In the areas of concern, he also mentioned femicides, attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, and disappearances, among others. Gonzalez Perez reported that in 2018 the CNDH issued 101 recommendations, 90 of them ordinary, eight for serious violations and three general ones.

For more information in Spanish:

Lamenta González Pérez que AMLO no acepte conocer informe de CNDH (La Jornada, 3 de junio de 2019)

AMLO no escucha informe de la CNDH; “es un hecho inédito en 29 años”: González Pérez (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de junio de 2019)

“Desalentador”, que AMLO se negara a recibir en ceremonia oficial el informe anual de CNDH: ombudsman (Proceso, 3 de junio de 2019)

CNDH reprocha a AMLO por no dar prioridad a derechos, ataques a contrapesos y recortes en Salud (Animal Político, 3 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)

National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil” (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas/Nacional : emite CNDH recomendaciones a autoridades de Chiapas por desplazamientos forzados en Chalchihuitán y Chenalhó (January 18, 2019)

Nacional/Chiapas: Emite CNDH recomendación al anterior titular de Sedena (December 18, 2018)

Guerrero/National/International: CNDH and IACHR Ayotzinapa Reports (December 14, 2018)

Chiapas/National/International: Observation Mission Concludes “Southern Border Is Silent Torture”

June 9, 2019

BorderCivil Observation Mission of the Humanitarian Crisis of Migrants and Refugees in the Mexican Southeast (@RedTdT)

From May 29th to 31st, the “Civil Observation Mission of the Humanitarian Crisis of Migrants and Refugees in the Mexican Southeast” (MCO in its Spanish acronym), composed of 24 organizations from Mexico, Central America and the United States, including SIPAZ, academics and journalists, toured various control points and immigration authorities on the coast and southern border of Chiapas “in order to strengthen the documentation and support that local organizations have made in the face of Central American exoduses in recent months.”

In a press conference at the end of the mission, the organizations asserted that, “the southern border is silent torture.” They denounced that “a militarized security approach continues and is sharpening above the respect and protection of the human rights of people in movement. We documented multiple immigration control points with strong presence of state security forces, particularly federal police and military police, without clarity about their functions and powers in the context of migration“, something that was considered “incongruous with the official discourse of a migration policy that respects human rights.”

They also identified “a strategy of attrition and containment, which is intended to generate fatigue, demobilization and dissuasion of people before access to the right to seek refuge and regularization procedures, as well as to restrict and criminalize human mobility.”

They documented that “immigration detention serves as a strategy of repression and punishment” as “raids and migration control operations have intensified along the entire coast.” They pointed out that “the conditions of immigration detention, which are in themselves violating human rights, have intensified, amounting to forms of physical and psychological torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” In addition to racist and xenophobic practices towards specific groups, they expressed their concern when “families are separated in raids, during detention, release and deportation, thus violating the principle of family unity.” They were also outraged by “the deprivation of freedom of migrant children and adolescents and asylum seekers in detention centers, the lack of humanitarian aid and lack of general respect for their rights, contrary to their Higher Interest.”

The MCO pointed to several flaws in government attention, including “the lack of institutional coordination and co-responsibility among the different levels of government, as well as a lack of comprehensive care protocols on migration and humanitarian issues with a focus on human rights, prevailing improvised reactions, assistance and with an emphasis on security “; as well as the “limitation of human, financial and infrastructure resources.”

Finally, it noted “with particular alarm that the stigmatization and criminalization of migration is increasing, resulting in the denial of the right to due process and to have a defense in immigration procedures. As a result, solidarity and the work of defending human rights is hindered and criminalized.”

Interestingly, on May 30th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came out in defense of the migrants through a letter stating that “human beings do not leave their villages for pleasure but for necessity”, which was directed to the US president, Donald Trump, who threatened to impose tariffs on domestic products (from five to 25%) if Mexico does not solve the phenomenon of irregular migration.

For more information in Spanish:

La frontera sur es una tortura silenciosa: Misión de Observación (Misión de Observación de la Crisis Humanitaria de Personas Migrantes y Refugiados en el Sureste Mexicano, 31 de mayo de 2019)

Protección migratoria no puede subordinarse a relación México-EU: ONG (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2019)

Trump advierte que los aranceles a México aumentarán si no se controla el flujo de inmigrantes ilegales (CNN México, 31 de mayo de 2019)

AMLO defiende a migrantes frente a Trump, pero las detenciones en México se disparan 100% (Animal Político, 1ero de junio de 2019)

Discurso oficial sobre migrantes difiere de la realidad, afirman ONG (La Jornada, 1ero de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

Chiapas: First Depolyment of National Guard in Chiapas at Siglo XXI Migration Center (May 23, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: OSC presentan el “Informe del monitoreo de derechos humanos del éxodo centroamericano en el sureste mexicano: octubre 2018 – febrero 2019” (May 3, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)

National/International: Contrasting Mexican and US Government Approaches to Central American Migration (April 2, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Secretaria de Gobernación se reúne con funcionarios del gobierno de Donald Trumpf para abordar el tema Migración (March5, 2019)

International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)

National/International: Spotlight Initiative against Gender Violence Launched in Mexico

June 6, 2019

Spotlight@CINU Mexico

On May 29th, the government of Mexico presented the Spotlight initiative, a project that will be managed and financed by six agencies of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to eradicate gender violence in a country where nine women are murdered every day and six out of ten women have suffered a violent incident – twice the world average.

The program involves an initial investment of €14 million and will focus on the problem of femicide, prioritizing five of the most violent Mexican municipalities for girls and women: Ecatepec and Naucalpan (State of Mexico), Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua), Chilpancingo (Guerrero) and Chihuahua (Chihuahua). After four years, it is intended to expand successful experiences to the rest of the country.

Within the framework of the presentation of the project, the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, reported the inclusion of federal funds to implement this new proposal that it considers complementary to the plan to address gender violence that the government presented in March.

The objectives of the initiative will be to review the legislative framework and improve current public policies, strengthen institutions, improve quality care services with attention to prevention and resilience, change macho culture and strengthen the work of civil society organizations. It is “an international cooperation effort that seeks to link the three powers and levels of government with organized civil society and the movements of women and girls in local states and municipalities”, the head of the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women (Conavim), Maria Candelaria Ochoa Avalos stressed.

During the presentation, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that in July dialogue will begin in the 32 states, “where we will listen and collect proposals directly, we will listen to women, their needs, their solutions.”

For more information in Spanish:

México combatirá los feminicidios con una ayuda millonaria de la Unión Europea (El País, 30 de mayo de 2019)


Lanzamiento de SPOTLIGHT en México para erradicar feminicidio en el País (VIDEO, ONU Noticias, 29 de mayo de 2019)

Iniciativa Spotlight: Invertirán 7 mdd para combatir feminicidios en 5 municipios (Animal Político, 29 de mayo de 2019)

El gobierno federal se suma a la Iniciativa Spotlight que busca eliminar la violencia contra mujeres (Proceso, 29 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Over 424,000 on Mexican #Me Too (May 7, 2019)

National: Presentation of ‘Emergent Plan to Guarantee the Integrity, Security and Life of Women and Girls in Mexico” (March 14, 2019)

Nacional : OSC denuncian omisiones en investigación y combate a feminicidios (August 16, 2018)

National/International: “Final Observations on the Ninth Periodic Report from Mexico, the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women” Published (August 6, 2018)


International: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and The Mexican Government Announce Plan for Gas Pipeline Connecting Mexico and Central America

June 4, 2019

Pipeline@Tiempo Digital

At the beginning of May, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) proposed to the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), an electricity network and a gas pipeline to connect Mexico with Central America.

The plan would connect the Maya Train and the Trans-isthmus Corridor with these new projects. ECLAC stated that the proposal will promote development in the region, and would be a response to the structural causes behind migration from Central America to the North, which include slow economic growth and lack of employment.

On May 27th, the Mexican government and ECLAC announced a gas pipeline project, from Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, Mexico, to Puerto Cortes, in northern Honduras. The gas pipeline would also cross Guatemala and El Salvador.

At a press conference, President AMLO and the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Barcena Ibarra, explained that the project will cost 19 billion dollars, which they hope to cover between public and private investments.

For more information in Spanish:

Proponen conectar Tren Maya y Corredor Transístmico hasta Centroamérica Educa, 27 de mayo de 2019.

De Salina Cruz, gas y energía vital para Centro América NVI Noticias, 27 de mayo de 2019.

Propone Cepal impulsar Tren Maya hasta Centroamérica Tiempo Digital, 5 de mayo de 2019.

Para más información de SIPAZ:

National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples (May 10, 2019)

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14, 2018)

Mexico: proposal from future AMLO government – Mayan Train to tour the southern states of the country and attract more tourism  (September 15, 2018)

Oaxaca: FGR and SEDENA Dispute Search for EPR Disappeared

May 30, 2019

EPRPhoto @ La Jornada

On May 25th, 2019, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR in its Spanish acronym) and the National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA in its Spanish acronym) challenged the sentence which favored the families of the victims of forced disappearance Edmundo Reyes Amaya and Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez, both militant social fighters of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR in its Spanish acronym). By order of the Judicial Power of the Nation a search commission for both of the disappeared for 12 years was to be created, “as well as the appearance of all the public officials who could have been involved in the events and the opening of military barracks to make inquiries”, La Jornada recalled.

Family members and civil society organizations, who accompany their cases, declared in a press conference on the same day that “the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador demonstrates the lack of political will to comply with the aforementioned resolution.”

Sandino Rivero, legal counsel for both families, stressed that the families and the accompanying organizations will maintain a sit-in in the Zocalo of the City of Oaxaca for an indefinite period of time, until they are addressed by the heads of the Interior and Human Rights (Olga Sanchez Cordero and Alejandro Encinas respectively), with whom they had already requested to have negotiation tables.

For more information in Spanish:

FGR y Sedena impugnan creación de comisión por desaparición forzada (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2019)

Impugnan FGR y Sedena sentencia a favor de desaparecidos (eje central, 25 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Order to Open Army Barracks in Search for EPR Members Disappeared in 2007 (May 16, 2019)

Oaxaca: Search for EPR Members Missing for 11 Years on State Properties (August 21, 2018)

Chiapas: National Day: “The Victims of State Terrorism are of the People, We will not Stop until We Find Them!” (March 15, 2017)

Chiapas: “Jornada nacional contra el terrorismo del estado en Chiapas” del FNLS (May 2, 2016)

Nacional/Oaxaca/Chiapas: Gira nacional: desaparición forzada en México (March 6, 2015)

National: Civil Commission for Pursuit and Search for two disappeared members of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) denounces lack of progress (September 29, 2014)

National: National Guard Secondary Laws Passed; Concerns over Human Rights Continue

May 28, 2019

National GuardNational Guard at Migration Center (@Cuartooscuro)

On May 21st, the Senate approved a set of four secondary laws that includes the organic law of this new security body, on the use of the force, the National Detention Registry and the National Public Security System. According to the president of the Political Coordination Board, Ricardo Monreal, the Senate modified 70% of the initiatives to ensure that the command of this security body is civil. “The National Guard will be civil. There is no way of maintaining or thinking about militarization. There is no doubt about that. The civil character is deepened, the judicial discipline is deepened and the civil command over all the members of the Guard is guaranteed”, he affirmed.

Two days later, the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies ratified the same package so that it would be ready for its enactment by the Executive, without taking into account the questions that the United Nations (UN) or the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (FLEPS in its Spanish acronym).

It is worth noting that the Mexico Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (UNHCHR) published a letter sent to the Chamber of Deputies pointing out as “worrying aspects” the lack of accountability, the omission of the responsibility of superior commanders, the absence of military records, the poor regulation of non-lethal force and the risk of the right to protest, when protests or demonstrations may be classified according to the “lawful objective” pursued, which would be contrary to the right to freedom of expression and assembly. It also noted that “although the law contains a regime of responsibilities, it does not include the four dimensions of responsibility necessary to comply with the duty to investigate illicit actions, which are direct responsibility, responsibility for omission, responsibility of the commanders and the responsibility of the commanders for the actions of their subordinates.” The UNHCHR clarified that its observations on both legislations were of a preliminary nature, given the short time it took to know the content of the initiatives, so it called on the Chamber of Deputies “to open a process of public and inclusive discussion in around the minutiae.” It should be noted that the content of the initiatives of the secondary laws were not publicly known until the Senate endorsed them.

For its part, the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (FLEPS) recognized that there are “positive aspects such as the inclusion of international principles in the matter; the determination of the levels of use of force; the obligation of police agents to issue reports on the use of force they make; operational planning and strategy.” However, it is “worrying that a perspective of” crowd control be maintained in the context of demonstrations and meetings. It also stated that, “the definition and qualification of the “lawful objective” of the demonstrations as well as the discretional power conferred on the police authorities to do so is problematic.” It highlighted the ambiguous character of activation and escalation in the use of force when demonstrations “turn violent”, or the use of the term “public order”. It also stated that, “a law of this nature should be open to debate, widely discussed and constructed with the participation of civil society, in order to address the problematic aspects that we have identified in principle.”

The deputies acknowledged that there were flaws in the laws, but claimed they were urgent.

For more information in Spanish:

Amnistía Internacional critica “opacidad” en leyes secundarias de la Guardia Nacional (Proceso, 20 de mayo de 2019)

El Senado aprueba las cuatro leyes secundarias para la Guardia Nacional; pasan a Diputados (Animal Político, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Senado aprueba leyes secundarias de la Guardia Nacional (La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Nueva Ley de Uso de la Fuerza: Criminalización de la protesta a nivel nacional (FLEPS, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Diputados dan luz verde a las cuatro leyes para la operación de la Guardia Nacional (Animal Político, 23 de mayo de 2019)

ONU-DH advierte “aspectos preocupantes” en leyes secundarias de la GN (Proceso, 23 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Directors of National Guard Publicly Presented (May 7, 2019)

National: AMLO Confirms Head of National Guard Will Be Serving Military Officer (April 9, 2019)

National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil” (April 8, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National: Deputies Approve National Guard amid Doubts in the Executive (January 24, 2019)