Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula

October 17, 2019

Migrants@Daniel Zacarias

On October 13th, 2019, elements of the National Migration Institute (INM in its Spanish acronym) as well as the Chiapas State Police and the National Guard launched an operation to stop a caravan of migrants, which started early in the evening.

Around five o’clock in the morning between 1,500 and 3,000 Central American, Caribbean and African migrants, including young people and children, left the “Miguel Hidalgo” central park of Tapachula, Chiapas, heading to Tijuana. They intended to make a stop in Mexico City and organize a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to ask for his help and accelerate their migration processes.

To date, the National Institute of Migration and the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR in its Spanish acronym) have not responded to their requests: they ask that they be granted an Office of Departure or regularize their stay one way or another. That is why thousands of migrants have been stranded for several months in the Tapachula immigration stations without employment and basic services.

The caravan moved rapidly along the state’s coastal highway that leads to the southern state of Oaxaca towards Huixtla, its first planned stop. It crossed two checkpoints guarded by State Police and the National Guard, one of them being the Viva Mexico bridge where they shouted “Goodbye, Tapachula!” in front of the public forces.

Around 4:30 p.m. 30 kilometers from the point of departure, at Xochiltepec community, the caravan was stopped by elements of the INM, the State Police and the National Guard. Migrants were surrounded by the authorities, causing them to flee among the bushes, pastures and agricultural crops. Before that, about 150 had been assured that they were behind the caravan and were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station in Tapachula.

Luis Garcia Villagran, lawyer and activist for the rights of migrants, who accompanied the caravan said: “They came on us like there was a war, rather there is a sordid war here. I was with my wife and about 200 agents arrived, between Migration and National Guard. We showed them that they all brought documentation, that they were all shelter applicants. Then the pulling began, the pulling changed to beatings. They even took children to the hospital.”

However, the official INM statement states that its officials “convinced” foreigners to return to Tapachula using trucks provided by the authorities, or on foot along the road. It says that “with full respect for human rights [the INM] carried out actions to invite foreign people who made up the contingent that left the city of Tapachula to go to the Institute to know the options to regularize their stay in the country.”

It also said that all the migrants who participated in the caravan were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station while the activist Irineo Mujica, president of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said that about 300 were locked in Siglo XXI, another 280 in Tuxtla Gutierrez and a small Group of 90 in Huixtla. Cases of family separation were also recorded.

This caravan was the first mass migration movement since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ratified an agreement with Donald Trump, president of the United States, which aims to contain illegal migration and occurred after numerous protests made by migrants in Tapachula, demanding that the authorities expedite their paperwork so that they can continue their journey to the United States.

For more information in Spanish:

Nueva caravana de migrantes sale de Tapachula, Chiapas (Multimedios, el 12 de octubre de 2019)

Frenan autoridades caravanas de migrantes (Cuarto Poder, el 13 de octubre de 2019)

Las autoridades mexicanas paran una caravana de casi 3.000 migrantes, incluyendo cubanos (14 y medio,l 13 de octubre de 2019)

Guardia Nacional bloquea caravana de migrantes africanos en Chiapas (Animal Político, 13 de octubre de 2019)

Migración detiene y encierra a solicitantes de refugio pese a tener papeles (Animal Político, el 14 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula (October 8, 2019)

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

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

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

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National: Four Members of National Guard Die in Guerrero and Chiapas

October 7, 2019

NG@Cuartoscuro

During the last week of September, four members of the National Guard died due to two unrelated attacks. In Guerrero in the community of El Balsamar, municipality of Leonardo Bravo, three elements died in an attack, presumably by organized crime, while in the process of destroying narcotic plants, within the framework of the “Operation Intensive Eradication Guerrero 3-19″.

Another attack occurred in Bochil, Chiapas, on September 26th, when elements of the National Guard in an operation carried out jointly with police in Chiapas were trying to free a road, which people from that municipality had blocked to demand two million pesos from the government for roadworks. The attack left two other members wounded.

In response to the attack in El Balsamar, the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) deployed more elements, and two helicopters to the area.

Regarding the attack in Bochil, the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym) published a statement that gives more information about the attack and the government’s response: “The State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) initiated an investigation folder for the violent events that occurred this Thursday morning in the municipality of Bochil, where a group of transport workers attacked with firearms members of the Mixed Operations Base (BOM), composed of the Municipal Police, State Police and National Guard … A special group of this prosecutor was sent to that municipality to put together an investigation file, in order to clarify the facts and disclaim responsibilities.”

For more information in Spanish:

Mueren 3 militares en emboscada; AMLO condena los hechos expansión política, 27 de septiembre de 2019.

Fallece elemento de la Guardia Nacional agredido en Bochil, Chiapas 29 de septiembre de 2019.

Identifican a militares que murieron en emboscada El Universal, 27 de septiembre de 2019.

Tres elementos de la Guardia Nacional son heridos en enfrentamiento con habitantes de Bochil, Chiapas MSN Noticias, 27 de septiembre de 2019.

Inicia Fiscalía carpeta de investigación por hechos violentos ocurridos en Bochil Fiscalía General del Estado, 26 de septiembre de 2019.

Pobladores de Bochil, Chiapas, disparan contra elementos de la Guardia Nacional expansión política, 26 de septiembre de 2019.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Visita SIPAZ a desplazados de Leonardo Bravo y Zitlala 2 de mayo de 2019.

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

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

Chiapas: Municipios de El Bosque y Bochil enfrentan una grave situación de inseguridad 4 de diciembre de 2018.


National/International: Mexico and US Reevaluate Migration Agreement after Three Months; Disagreement over Desired Outcomes

September 23, 2019

Migration@aljazeera

September 10th marked three months since the governments of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and Donald Trump reached an agreement through which Mexico undertook to take measures to lower the level of migration that crosses its territory to reach the United States. According to data from the United States government, the number of arrests on its southern border has dropped, with a 56% reduction in migration flows in the last 90 days.

The two governments consider that this reduction is due to the change in migration policy in Mexico, which has included the deployment of the National Guard in the border areas, as well as a change of rules for migrants from Africa and Asia, as it allowed them to travel to the northern border with authorization. These changes have generated extreme concern on the part of national and international civil organizations, as well as the United Nations, since they have implied a resurgence of migrant human rights violations.

However, the Trump administration has said it is not satisfied with what has been achieved so far, noting that the number of arrests at its border in August was 65,000, the highest figure for this month that has been recorded in the last five years. An officer of the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke with the Washington Post, noted that they want to lower the level of migration to where it was in the first months of President Trump, or less than 20,000 monthly detentions.

The current agreement also includes another aspect that has generated controversy, the United States policy called “Remain in Mexico”, which makes migrants have to wait during their asylum process in Mexico. The United States also continues to press for Mexico to agree to play a Safe Third Country role, which would force migrants passing through Mexico to apply for asylum in this country, instead of continuing to the United States. For its part, the AMLO government has been clear in its rejection of an agreement of this nature.

The United States has already signed a Third Safe Country agreement with Guatemala, and has implemented a law that prevents applying for asylum in the US to anyone who has traveled through Guatemala. Considering that Guatemala is one of the countries where more migrants leave for the United States for reasons that include the violence of organized crime, it makes little sense to send migrants to seek asylum in Guatemala. A US judge revoked this immigration rule by saying: “We do not see how anyone can read this record and think that (Guatemala and Mexico) are safe countries.”

For more information in Spanish:

SRE ha detenido 56% del flujo migrante a EU El Universal, 7 de septiembre de 2019.

A tres meses del acuerdo migratorio que le evitó a México una guerra comercial con EEUU pero le acarreó problemas humanitarios Infobae, 7 de septiembre de 2019.

EU no está satisfecho con estrategia migratoria de México: TWP El Universal, 6 de septiembre de 2019.

For information in English:

Mexico won’t be safe third country for asylum seekers: Ebrard Reuters, 9 de septiembre de 2019.

Mexico’s crackdown on migrants is stalling, U.S. officials say ahead of talks next week The Washington Post, 6 de septiembre de 2019.

Trump’s Safe Third Country Agreement With Guatemala Is a Lie Foreign Policy, 30 de julio de 2019.

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: UNO Calls for Evaluation of National Guard as Migratory Control in Mexico (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants (July 2, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Acuerdo sobre migración entre EUA y México cancela imposición de aranceles al segundo (June 8,2019).


International/National: UNO Calls for Evaluation of National Guard as Migratory Control in Mexico

September 2, 2019

National Guard@billieparkernoticias

The United Nations Committee against Racial Discrimination (UNCRD) insisted that the Mexican government evaluate the effects of the deployment of the National Guard as a form of immigration control. In addition, it raised the possibility of withdrawing this function by recommending “evaluating the effects of the deployment of the National Guard for immigration control with a view to its withdrawal from immigration control and intensify its efforts to eliminate the practice of racial profiling in management and migratory operations, including through the wide dissemination and due implementation of the Guide for Public Action for the Prevention of Racial Profiling Practices.”

The UNCRD also mentioned international agreements regarding the rights of migrants, and suggested that, “the necessary measures be implemented so that Migration Centers have adequate living conditions in accordance with international standards.”

The UNCRD made these recommendations on August 23rd, in Geneva, Switzerland.

For more information in Spanish:

Pide ONU evaluar efectos de acciones policiales para control migratorio La Jornada, 29 de agosto de 2019.

ONU solicita retiro de Guardia Nacional de operaciones migratorias El Heraldo de México, 29 de agosto de 2019.

ONU pide retirar a Guardia Nacional de operaciones migratorias Forbes México, 30 de agosto de 2019.

Guía para la Acción Pública para la Prevención de Prácticas de Perfilamiento Racial Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación, 2018.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants (July 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Migrants’ Human Rights Defenders, Irineo Mujica and Cristobal Sanchez, Released (June 17, 2019)

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


Chiapas: Public Act of Recognition of State Responsibility in Gonzalez Sisters Case Announced

September 2, 2019

Gonzalez Sisters

On August 26th, several media released statements by Gloria Flores, representative of the Gonzalez Perez Sisters Committee (Tseltal Indians who were raped by members of the Mexican Army at a military checkpoint in Altamirano, Chiapas in June 1994). She reported that after a meeting with the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas in July, the official promised to hold a Public Act of Recognition of Responsibility of the Mexican State, which is scheduled for next October 18th in the municipality of Ocosingo, near Altamirano.

Under the conditions under which the State will offer this apology, the Gonzalez Perez sisters and their mother, Delia Perez de Gonzalez have insisted on the presence of the high command of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA in its Spanish acronym). In 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recognized that they were victims of arbitrary detention, deprivation of liberty and sexual torture, in addition to the violation of the rights of children in the case of Celia Gonzalez Perez who at that time was a minor, such that it recommended the investigation of the case and adequate reparation to the sisters.

Accompanying organizations in the case stressed that, “the recognition of responsibility of the Mexican State is an essential guarantee for the non-repetition of human rights violations, hence the importance of public apology as a primary symbolic measure that allows repairing the hurt to begin. Therefore, the presence of senior officials of the Ministry of National Defense in the event is essential and necessary as part of the victims’ access to justice: the Gonzalez Perez sisters, their mother, their family and the Tseltal Maya indigenous people. By not fulfilling these conditions, the Mexican State would be omitting its obligation to guarantee adequate reparation.”

For more information in Spanish:

El Estado ofrecerá disculpa pública a indígenas violadas (La Jornada, 26 de agosto de 2019)

Estado se disculpará por militares que violaron a indígenas (El Universal, 26 de agosto de 2019)

El Estado mexicano ofrecerá disculpas públicas a las Hermanas González Pérez por la violación a sus derechos humanos perpetrados por militares hace 25 años (Comité Hermanas González Pérez, CMDPDH, Amnistía Internacional, 24 de julio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Tzeltal Women Tortured and Raped by Military in 1994 Denounce Total Impunity (June 9, 2019)

Chiapas: Indigenous Tzeltal women raped by the Mexican Army accept “compensation” with conditions (October 25, 2010)


International/National: #DefensoresSinMuros-DefendersBeyondWalls Campaign Calls for End to Attacks against Defenders of Migrants’ Rights

July 8, 2019

MigrantsPhoto @ El Heraldo

The National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT in its Spanish acronym), the Migration Issues Program (PRAMI in its Spanish acronym) of the Mexico City-Tijuana Ibero-American University and the international non-governmental organization Frontline Defenders launched the #DefensoresSinMuros – #DefendersBeyondWalls campaign. The new campaign aims to “highlight the valuable work of organizations, activists, groups and shelters, in the face of a report (August 2019) that documents and calls for an end to attacks against the defenders of migrants’ human rights along the migratory routes to the United States.”

“In the campaign, defenders who walked alongside the caravans, migrant homes, shelters and organizations that are on the road and carry out humanitarian work and defense of human rights are presented in a context in which criminalization is on the rise. The faces of the campaign are journalists and researchers who document the impacts with a gender approach of displacement and violence against migrants; humanitarian workers offering water and food to families traveling through the deadliest corridors of the Sonoran Desert; queer activists who create communities and physical spaces for undocumented queer and trans communities and attorneys who offer free legal assistance; among many other people who have fighting for a more just world with more solidarity for all in common.”

The new campaign began in the context of a hectic period on migration issues. Amnesty International (AI) reported that, “since 2018, the US government has carried out an illegal and discriminatory campaign of intimidation, threats, harassment and criminal investigations against people who defend the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on the border between Mexico and the United States.”

In relation to the new policy adopted by the US government that specifically returns certain immigrants seeking asylum to Mexico, in recent days the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that “those seeking asylum from Central America, Cuba and Africa – including 4,780 children – face ‘potentially dangerous and unsustainable conditions’ after the US authorities send them back to Mexico.”

“While waiting for the US government to accept their asylum claims, migrants and activists who support them are exposed to harassment, intimidation, insecurity, exploitation and overcrowded conditions, warned the HRW organizations, Amnesty International (AI) and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym).”

The CNDH noted that in Mexico the recent modification of migration policies has generated a greater presence of immigration authorities and security forces in the northern and southern borders of the national territory, as well as the detention of people in the context of migration in different cities of our country. The fifth visitor of the National Commission of Human Rights, Edgar Corzo, said that, “for all the euphemisms to be found, the government detains migrants in centers (…) than what happens with migrants who are taken to the migratory centers, there is deprivation of liberty, where the minimum conditions of survival or a decent treatment are not guaranteed.”

The CNDH said that “it is necessary that organizations and activists receive the full and permanent support of the authorities of the three levels of government and of society as a whole; that it does not discredit or criminalize their work, since contexts that are not conducive to the defense of fundamental rights are generated, and that the intervention of the authorities in the migratory issue does not affect, for any reason, the work of people and organizations dedicated to the defense of people in the context of mobility.”

For more information in Spanish:

Campaña #DefendersBeyondWalls/#DefensoresSinMuros (Frontline Defenders, 3 de julio de 2019)

Amnistía, HRW y CNDH reclaman a gobierno de AMLO trato a migrantes (Expansión Política, 2 de julio de 2019)

CNDH acusa al gobierno de AMLO de privar de la libertad a migrantes (Milenio, 2 de julio de 2019)

Pide CNDH respaldo de gobiernos a defensores de migrantes (La Jornada, 29 de junio de 2019)

La CNDH acusa a la Comar de incumplir con la protección de 112 solicitantes de refugio entre 2017 y 2018 (Sin Embargo, 2 de juliode 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants (July 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Migrants’ Human Rights Defenders, Irineo Mujica and Cristobal Sanchez, Released (June 17, 2019)

National/International: US-Mexico Migration Deal Halts Imposition of Tariffs (June 17, 2019)

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)


National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants

July 2, 2019

Migration@Chiapas Paralelo

Since June 14th, the agreement between Mexico and the United States to contain the flow of migrants in recent months has involved a militarization of both borders, according to human rights organizations.

On the southern border, the arrival of six thousand elements of the National Guard (GN in its Spanish acronym) was announced. In addition, “elements of the 101st Infantry Battalion of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA in its Spanish acronym) stationed in the Chiapas sierra put on a black armband with the initials GN (National Guard) and began patrolling in the Comalapa Border municipalities and others of the sierra de Chiapas”, this occurring after “the number of migrants using this road multiplied, after the route that starts from the Suchiate River and runs along the coast of Chiapas became more difficult, with the integration of elements of the Military Police and the Marina in the checkpoints”, Chiapas Paralelo reported a few days after the signing of the agreement.

The civil organizations that work on behalf of the migrants expressed their concern about the “double discourse” of the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), which changed from a humanitarian policy to a militarist one. They accused the federal government of having let “the administration of Donald Trump, extend its border domain to southern Mexico.” They also indicated that the increase in police and military surveillance will not stop migration but will lead them to resort to more dangerous and risky routes for their security and integrity. They are also concerned about the tendency to stigmatize all civil society organizations, increasing the risks for migrant advocates and closing possible channels of dialogue. They warned that there is little clarity in the functions of the GN: “since March 2011, when migration was decriminalized as a crime, this was left as an administrative fault and the INM (National Institute of Migration) as the only authority empowered to detain migrants. However, now everyone is doing it doing, Marines, Army, Federal Police, state police bodies and even municipal police”, Chiapas Paralelo points out.

Another problem linked to the strategy of containment has to do with the saturation of migratory centers that are exceeded in their capacity by up to 400 percent with “overcrowded conditions, without health or adequate food or sufficient access to health services”. The fifth visitor of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), Edgar Corzo Sosa, also pointed out the lack of personnel and infrastructure to process requests for refuge or regulation of migratory stay.

Civil organizations have also reported that the INM has asked transport companies to collaborate to prevent the entry of undocumented persons into their vehicles, which some of them agreed to do when the Institute threatened to sue them for crimes comparable to trafficking in persons, with penalties of between one thousand and ten thousand days penalty or up to 16 years in prison. The CSOs will question that the latter action hinders “free transit, not only for this population, but also for Mexican people” since there are “millions of people living in Mexico -who do not have these documents- and they travel on the roads of the country in different transportation systems: young people, agricultural day laborers -of which, many are indigenous, immigrants with immigration documents, thousands of Mexican returnees or deportees who do not have identity documents, and those who do not have their credentials from the INE because they were stolen, they have not updated it, etc.”

In the Northern Border, “we have a total deployment between the National Guard and army units of almost 15,000 men”, the Secretary of National Defense, Luis Cresentcio Sandoval, acknowledged during AMLO’s morning conference on June 25th. He affirmed that “considering that migration is not a crime, it is an administrative problem, so we only stop them and put them at the disposition of the authorities” of the National Institute of Migration. In this same framework, AMLO confirmed that the National Guard troops do detentions of migrants in aid of the INM authorities. He declared that, “there may be these excesses, but the instruction they all have is that the human rights of migrants be respected and that will continue that way.”

For more information in Spanish:

Organizaciones, activistas y defensores denuncian doble discurso del gobierno de AMLO en política migratoria (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de junio de 2019)

Por “contingencia migratoria”, personas sin identificación oficial no podrán abordar en ADO y ETN (Proceso, 18 de junio de 2019)

Acciones para contener migración en el país ponen en peligro libertad de tránsito de población mexicana (OSC, 19 de junio de 2019)

Organizaciones denuncian que medidas gubernamentales contra migrantes son anticonstitucionales (Desinformémonos, 20 de junio de 2019)

15 mil elementos de la Guardia Nacional impedirán el cruce de migrantes hacia EU (Animal Político, 24 de junio de 2019)

Puede Guardia Nacional detener a migrantes: López Obrador (Excelsior, 25 de junio de 2019)

For more information SIPAZ:

Chiapas/National/International: Migrants’ Human Rights Defenders, Irineo Mujica and Cristobal Sanchez, Released (June 17, 2019)

National/International: US-Mexico Migration Deal Halts Imposition of Tariffs (June 17, 2019)

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)