In a bulletin published on April 14th, the international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) asked Mexico for the “immediate release of migrants if they can no longer be deported to their countries of origin or if they are in arbitrary detention,” given the border closures and to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus (Covid-19) in detention centers.
HRW considered that this measure is “crucial to reduce the risk faced by migrants in detention centers that are not in a position to prevent the transmission of the new coronavirus.”
It denounced that “thousands of migrants are being held in Mexico in inhumane and unhealthy conditions, amid a global pandemic” so it is not surprising that since March 23rd “people detained in five migrant detention centers in Mexico have started protests and they have demanded to be released” for fear of contracting COVID-19. The protests have provoked “clashes in which there were dozens of wounded and at least one dead; in some cases, the migrants reported that security officials made excessive use of force”, it added.
“In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside and outside Mexican detention centers, it is absolutely imperative that the Mexican government act immediately to free or find alternatives to detention for all those migrants to whom it cannot repatriate, at least for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic”, it stressed.
“President Lopez Obrador cannot maintain that his government respects the human rights of the ‘migrant brothers’ and, at the same time, put into practice policies that manifestly violate the international legal obligations assumed by Mexico to protect the human rights of migrants. This shows an absolute disregard for their health and dignity”, HRW stated.
For more information in Spanish:
México debe liberar a los migrantes detenidos en el contexto de la pandemia (HRW, 14 de abril de 2020)
México debe liberar a migrantes detenidos para prevenir Covid-19: HRW (Aristegui Noticias, 15 de abril de 2020)
Mantener privados de la libertad a migrantes “demuestra desprecio por su salud y dignidad”: HRW (Proceso, 15 de abril de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ: