Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of migration agents, says La 72

March 22, 2015

Fray Tomás González en Acteal. Foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Fray Tomás González in Acteal. Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 17 March, “La 72, Home and Refuge for Migrant People,” located in Tenosique, Tabasco, directed by the human-rights defender Fray Tomás González, released an Urgent Action (UA) due to events “that leave us absolutely indignant,” with reference to the death of a Honduran youth.  On 6 March, agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) working with federal police in Tenosique stopped a freight-train at the Chacamax station, 60 kilometers from Palenque, where they began a search.  Among the hundreds of persons traveling atop the train, the Honduran youth in question suffered a panic attack, jumped off the “Beastly” train, and entered the river, where he began to drown and then requested assistance.  In the end, the youth died.  According to the man who gave witness, the INM “agents said: ‘leave that fucker,'” as the UA claims.

In addition, the UA indicates that the migrants who had been witnesses “both of the savage raid as well as death of the youth and what followed [noted] that the persecution by the migration agents lasted more than 2 hours.  Once they saw that the youth was drowning, they withdrew and provided no assistance; the corpse remained for 10 hours on the river bank, cared for by the other migrants who witnessed the acts.  People from the local community also testified and told us of many crimes and human-rights violations that the INM agents commit.”

Lastly, the document ends with a call “on national and international human-rights organizations” to express themselves “in light of these lamentable acts and others that have been caused by the Southern Border Program.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: El INM Y La PF a través del Programa Frontera Sur provocan la muerte de  personas Migrantes Centroamericanas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 18 de marzo de 2015)

El Programa Frontera Sur no cesa la represión en contra de personas migrantes (La 72 – Refugio para personas migrantes, 12 de enero de 2015)

Agentes de Migración y de la PF dejan a hondureño ahogarse (Proceso, 18 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Fray Tomás González (13 November 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Father Tomás González

November 13, 2014

© Amnestía Internacional

Fray Tomás González © Amnesty International

In a communique published on 7 November, Father Tomás, founder of the migrant home “La 72” in Tenosique, Tabasco, denounced the persecution and criminalization carried out by the National Migration Institute (INM) against him.

An INM agent notes that “upon cordially greeting Fray Tomás González, who was in his car, the priest grabbed his hand and started the engine, thus dragging him for more than 100 meters,” with this being the reason that he demands prosecution of Fray Tómas.

The communique from the migrant home categorically denied the INM’s claim: “This false denunciation is part of the alarming increase in the persecution and violent criminalization of the INM toward migrants and those who assist them in humanitarian terms at the ’72’ migrant home.  The attacks began in 2011, when the home was founded, and today they reach the extreme of using the penal system against the director of this center, thus criminalizing our work in defense of human rights.

For ten years, the systematic participation of INM agents in criminal enterprises has been documented, including extortion, robbery, assault, and other crimes against migrants committed by the very officials themselves in actions that have greatly threatened the life and integrity of those who cross through this country.  These actions have worsened following the implementation of the Southern Border Plan by the federal government.”

Dozens of national and international civil organization have expressed their solidarity with Fray Tómas and  warned that “just in 2014, there have been no fewer than five attacks on ‘La 72.'”

For more information (in Spanish):

Agente del INM demanda al defensor de migrantes Fray Tomás González, Proceso,  5 de noviembre de 2014

Comunicado de solidaridad con Fray Tomás y el albergue de La 72 frente al intento de criminalizar su labor de defensa de derechos humanos, Voces MesoAmericanos,  6 de noviembre de 2014

OSC se solidarizan con Fray Tomas; exigen cese de hostigamiento y ataques contra la 72 (Sididh, 11 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City

May 2, 2014

© Vocesmesoamericanas

© Vocesmesoamericanas

Migrants and their families as well as activists and human-rights defenders launched a “Migrant Pilgrimage” on 15 April in El Naranjo, Guatemala.  They passed through Chiapas, Villahermosa, and Tabasco.  At that time, a total of 800 Central Americans had joined the caravan.  Starting on 19 April, passing through Holy Week, the procession became the “March for the freedom of transit of migrants.”  Through these mobilizations, participants sought to call attention to the lack of security experienced by Central American migrants upon crossing through Mexico to arrive in the U.S.: murders, kidnappings, extortion, rapes, robbery, and exploitation are part of their daily bread.

On 23 April, having now more than a thousand participants, the march arrived in Mexico City, where protestors confronted the President, demanding an audience with Enrique Peña Nieto.  However, they were received only by a commission that handed over their petitions calling for free transit to the United States. Fray Tomás González, migrant defender at the home “La 72” in Tenosique, Tabasco, reported that on 24 April they were to have two meetings, one with the Secretary of Governance and the other at the Senate of the Republic.

For more information (in Spanish):

Vía crucis de migrantes prosigue como caminata por la libertad de tránsito, La Jornada 20 de abril de 2014

Arriba al DF caravana de migrantes centroamericanos, La Jornada 23 de abril de 2014

Viacrucis migrante llega hoy al DF; quieren hablar con Peña Nieto, 23 de abril de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forum “Defending hope and autonomy from southeastern Mexico”

July 19, 2013

Panel en el Foro “Defendiendo la esperanza y la autonomía desde el Sureste mexicano” (@SIPAZ)

On 27 June, several organizations which comprise the Southeastern Region of the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” from the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan organized the Forum “Defending hope and autonomy from southeastern Mexico” which was held in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. A journalist and five rights-defenders presented their perspectives regarding their work and the problems they confront.  In parallel terms, the book “Accompanying Hope” was presented, which documents 20 experiences of the defense and promotion of human rights in the country.

In a bulletin, these same organizations presented their diagnostic evaluation of the prevailing situation in the states of southeastern Mexico, stressing that in those spaces, there has been seen an increase in the “social conflictivity based in the structural violence generated by the different levels of government.”  They stressed that “in light of the communal contexts in which these [conflicts] present themselves in the southeast of Mexico, given the increase in social conflict, worsening of poverty, impunity, discrimination and corruption that is practiced by the different levels of the government, human-rights defenders represents one of the actors of change to transform this worrying situation through alternatives of life and hope for this country.”  They indicated that their “work continues unrecognized by the official authorities and non-state actors, who reduce the definition of human-rights defender only to those who work in a public organization that officially works in human rights.”

As an example of the increasing tendency toward criminalization, the panelists mentioned the cases of the “judicial persecution of our colleague Nataniel Hernández Nuñez from Tonalá; the unjust incarceration of Alberto Patishtán Gómez from El Bosque; and the troubles suffered by Fray Tomás González and the personnel of the Migrant Home 72 in Tenosique in their work to assist migrant persons transiting through the region.”

The panelists concluded by affirming that the “Campaign ‘Let Us Defend Hope’ is a motivation to emphasize and recognize this important work which seeks to dignify the invaluable contributions of persons who without being part of any official human-rights organization, still do work to promote, defend, and exercise human rights in southeastern Mexico.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria a la presentación de la “Campaña Defendamos la Esperanza” en Chiapas (27 de junio de 2013)

Boletín: la defensa de los Derechos Humanos en el Sureste de México (27 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Campaign “We Defend Hope” in favor of human-rights defenders (8 April 2013)

National: New death-threats directed against Fray Tomás, director of “La 72″

March 27, 2013

Fray Tomás González @ Periódico ABC

Fray Tomás González @ Periódico ABC

On 17 March, Fray Tomás González Castillo, director of the Refuge Home “La 72” for migrant persons, denounced that he and those residing in the home received two death-threats from organized crime operating in Tenosique, Tabasco. “It should be mentioned that in recent weeks, we have accompanied many persons who have gravely victimized by extortion and death-threats.  We have denounced this before the PGR and PGJ of Tabasco,” notes the communique published by Fray Tomás.

His communique adds that the home had reported this to public security forces (Ministerial Federal Police, PGJ, Federal Police, Mexican Army), leading to the provocation of “an operation with a great lack of coordination: they took three people indicating as being migrants.  Regardless, they did not detain those who we consider to be the principal leaders, among them the chief who leads the gang that operates between Tenosique y Coatzacoalcos. This puts us at greater risk and danger.”

Both Fray Tomás and Rubén Díaz Figueroa, from the Usumacinta Center for Human Rights and a member of Amnesty International (AI), have denounced the death-threats and aggressions engaged in by soldiers, state police, and other uniformed people in Tenosique before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).  Raúl Izquierdo and Samuel Villicana León, visitors with the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), have accompanied the migrant defenders in their presentation of complaints before the government in Tenosique, where the events occurred.

The “All Rights for All” National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations has announced that “it is important to indicate that these aggressions against the migrant home and the rights-defenders who work there has to do with the accompaniment and the denunciations made regarding the situation of migrant peoples transiting through Mexico.  From this Network we manifest our support and solidarity with the “72” migrant home; we recognize the important work done their daily to support our brother migrants.”  Amnesty International (AI) itself has called on Mexican authorities to provide “effective and immediate” protection for Fray Tomás González and Rubén Figueroa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgente desde Tenosique: Amenaza del crimen organizado a Defensores de Derechos Humanos (Frontera Sur, 18 de marzo de 2013)

Exigimos proteger la vida de Fray Tomás González y del personal del albergue “La 72” (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos”, 18 de marzo de 2013)

Denuncian agresión contra defensores de migrantes en Tabasco (Proceso, 20 de marzo de 2013)

Pasan noche de zozobra en el refugio La 72 (La Jornada Veracruz, 19 de marzo de 2013)

Amnistía Internacional urge a las autoridades a dar protección a defensores de migrantes amenazados de muerte (Periódico Sin Embargo, 18 de marzo de 2013)

Pide mafia mi cabeza: fraile; caen 3 bandidos (Tabasco Hoy, 20 de marzo de 2013)

Fray Tomás, defensor de los migrantes, denuncia amenazas de muerte (Diario El País, 20 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Tabasco: “The forgotten border” press-conference (13 December 2011)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)

Mexico: Caravan for Peace concludes after journeying to Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla (28 September 2011)