National / International: Mexico, migration filter?

September 21, 2018

@Conexión migrante

In mid-September, several rumors surfaced that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto would be considering signing a commitment with the United States under which Mexico would accept a deportation quota of undocumented non-Mexican immigrants, and a number of asylum seekers seeking refuge in U.S. This would be under the statutes of the bilateral cooperation of the Mérida Initiative signed with the government of President Felipe Calderón to combat drug trafficking and organized crime on a bilateral basis; and as part of the Zero Tolerance policy for undocumented immigration of the Donald Trump government. The New York Times detailed that the 20 million dollars allocated for this would cover the costs of the deportation from Mexico to the countries of origin of some 17,000 undocumented immigrants in order to prevent the flow of migrants in the southern border of the United States.

Days later, it was reported that due to pressure from the transition team of the president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto rejected these 20 million dollars.

Given the rumors, civil organizations in favor of the rights of migrants and refugees, expressed their outright rejection of a plan of this nature and more broadly to bilateral negotiations between the United States and Mexico on a safe Third-Country Agreement in matters of asylum: “these measures represent a threat to the right of each person to seek asylum in the country that he/she considers to be safe, in addition to a renunciation by both governments of their international obligations to offer access to international protection for any person. They pointed out that “Mexico is far from being a safe country for migrants and refugees, and forcing people to seek protection in Mexico would exceed the country’s asylum system, which is already weak. International and Mexican organizations have documented how migrants and refugees traveling through Mexico are frequent victims of crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, robbery and sexual violence, committed by criminal organizations, but also by Mexican migration agents and police. ” They recommended that “US assistance to Mexico should not be aimed at increasing arrests and deportations, and should not support immigration and security authorities that lack mechanisms to make their agents responsible for the abuses committed against migrants. In addition, the United States should not outsource the application of its immigration laws to Mexico. Instead, the United States should support the efforts of UNHCR and civil organizations in strengthening protection mechanisms in the region. “ They concluded that “both countries must comply with their international and moral obligations towards migrants and refugees, respecting due process, the family unity and the right to seek protection in the country migrants consider safe”.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Gobierno de Peña firmará convenio que convierte a México en filtro migratorio de EU (Proceso, 12 de septiembre de 2018)

Gobierno mexicano considera ofrecimiento de 20 millones de dólares de EU para ser filtro migratorio (El Economista, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

Por presión del equipo de AMLO, gobierno de Peña rechaza 20 mdd de EU para filtro migratorio (Proceso, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

Rechaza gobierno de Peña 20 mdd de EU para filtro migratorio (El Sur, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

Organizaciones rechazan que México sea una herramienta de deportación de EU (Conexión Migrante, 14 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: OSC Asks for Suspension of Agreement with US to Convert Mexico into “Migration Filter” in Return for Favors in Renegotiation of NAFTA June 25, 2018

National: 84 Organizations and Collectives Oppose Gendarmerie at Southern Border April 30, 2018

Mexico – National/International: Latest Amnesty International Report on the Deadly Return of Central American Asylum Seekers from Mexico February 15, 2018

National/International: “Caravan of Mothers of Missing Migrants” Arrives to Mexico December 27, 2017

National/International: WOLA requests that U.S. suspends the Mérida Initiative

July 21, 2015


The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), together with another seven human-rights Mexican and U.S. organizations, has requested that the U.S. government arrest the resources earmarked for the Mérida Initiative, due to the fact that the Mexican State has not observed its requirements in terms of human rights. In 008, when the Initiative began, the U.S. Congress made the resources destined for Mexican security forces conditional on significant advances in the realm of human rights. “To detain these resources would signify a very clear message that the U.S. condemns the grave human-rights violations seen in Mexico,” explained Maureen Meyer, the primary coordinator of WOLA in Mexico. In their report, the organizations indicated that, according to their investigations and data, in addition to the findings made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, Mexico has not progressed in this sense. “In general, to provide Mexican security forces with more training and equipment while corruption and abuses go on unchecked does not contribute to security in the country, but instead continues exacerbating an already grave human-rights situation,” notes the memo.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden a EU retener fondos a México por derechos humanos (LaJornada, 9 de julio de 2015)

El memorándum completo (, 9 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/US: 15% of the funds of the Mérida Initiative may be tied conditionally for human-rights concerns (18 May 2012)

Mexico/US: 15% of the funds of the Mérida Initiative may be tied conditionally for human-rights concerns

May 18, 2012

Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@US State Department)

On 10 May, press reports announced that the U.S. government was considering delaying 15% of the funds for the Mérida Initiative (that is, approximately $18 million) to make them conditional to the human-rights situation in Mexico.  It should be remembered that the U.S. government received $26 million in aid to Mexico in 2010, recommending that the autonomy of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) be expanded, giving it constitutional powers regarding the observation of international human-rights law and an end to military tribunals.

On 10 May, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Adjunct Subsecretary of State, announced that the Obama administration “still has not made a decision” on this question and that it will not do so until it has undertaken a more complete analysis regarding the progress made in Mexico in terms of human rights.

Regardless, Fitzpatrick revealed that though Mexico had seen important advances in legislative terms, “there still remains much work to be done from here on out regarding the implementation of these laws,” stressing that “impunity prevails as one of the most critical obstacles for the Mexican judicial system, whose capacity to impart justice remains limited.”

Regarding military tribunals, she noted that “if the military has ceded jurisdiction in some cases, the process still has not been included in the Constitution, and the military tribunals have continued reclaiming their jurisdiction in some cases involving civilians.”  Fitzpatrick also stressed the case of attacks and murders of journalists in Mexico, as well as on human-rights defenders and women.

In this context, different human-rights organizations, Mexican and U.S., insisted on the necessity of delaying the distribution of these funds until the Mexican government demonstrate significant advances in these terms.  “We believe that Mexico continues without having met its obligations,” claimed Maureen Meyer, representative of the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), reason for which she recommended the Obama administration to sanction the Mexican government by delaying these funds for the Mérida Initiative, given the rights-violations committed by security forces.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sube presión sobre México por violación de derechos (El Universal, 11 de mayo de 2012)

EU: gran impunidad en crímenes contra periodistas (La Jornada, 11 de mayo de 2011)

EU exhibe a México: impunidad, violación a derechos humanos, asesinatos de periodistas (Proceso, 10 de mayo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Forum on “Military Cooperation, the Democratic Process, and Human Rights”  (29 May 2009)

Mexico: US approves another 300 million for Mexico as part of the Mérida Initiative (12 March 2009)

Mexico/US: “An instructive event: the lessons of Plan Colombia for US foreign policy toward Mexico and other countries”

November 26, 2011

On 10 November, the Washington Office for Latin Americans Affairs (WOLA) published a report entitled “An instructive event: the lessons of Plan Colombia for US foreign policy toward Mexico and other countries.”  In 2007, Mexico and the US agreed on an aid package of $1.4 billion to combat drug-trafficking and organized crime in observation of the so-called “Mérida Initiative.”  To date, analysts have compared it with the Plan Colombia, signed in 2000.

Comparing these two agreements, WOLA came to assert the following in its report: “Almost four years after the launch of the Mérida Initiative, significant improvements in security terms have not been had.  In place of arresting violence, the capture or murder of dozens of organized crime capos has brought this about.”  It affirms that results to improve public security have been lacking, and that instead human-rights violations have increased.

In the time that has passed since the beginning of the Mérida Initiative, it notes, “organized crime has diversified its illegal income-generating activities.  The extortion of small and large companies has increased dramatically, and this has led many such businesses to close or, as in zones like Ciudad Juárez, to flee.  Extortional kidnappings have exploded.  The cartels have taken control of the trafficking of persons in a number of border zones and transit routes of migrants, extortioning and murdering thousands of migrants, many of them originating from Central America.”

WOLA recommends in its report that “the best would be not to finance abusive armed forces.  But if the U.S. chooses to train and finance militaries with histories of abuses, it has the absolute obligation of pressing for the generation of a climate that would favor respect for human rights.  This would presuppose ending the impunity for abuses committed by soldiers and the promotion and incentivization of policies that reward respect for human rights.  It is not just a matter of offering training.”

In response to the report, the Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) of Mexico noted that the the bilateral Mérida Initiative “complements today the efforts Mexico makes to confront organized crime.”  It sustains that the program has contributed to the training of nearly 14,000 public servants involved in security and the provision of justice in the country.  It adds that “the government of Mexico carries out unprecedented efforts to strengthen the State institutions and public security, in accordance with national interests and priorities.”

It should be recalled that Mexico has received more than $612 million from the Mérida Initiative, and there is being contemplated another $500 million from the U.S. government before the close of 2011.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Iniciativa Mérida extendió violencia” (El Universal, 11 November

HRW: EU debe retener fondos (El Universal, 11 November)

Impunidad, no un programa, eleva crimen, dicen analistas (El Universal, 11 November)

SRE defiende esquema de colaboración (El Universal, 11 November)

Iniciativa Mérida atizó la violencia en México: ONG (La Jornada, 11 November 2011)

Iniciativa Mérida ha incentivado la violencia en México: Wola (Proceso, 10 November 2011)

Informe completo from WOLA (November 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: The Citizens’ Pact is signed in Juarez (21 June 2011)

México: Forum on “Military Cooperation, the Democratic Process, and Human Rights”  (29 May 2009)

Mexico: US approves another 300 million for Mexico as part of the Mérida Initiative (12 March 2009)

Guerrero – briefs: Protestors submit complaint against soldiers; NGO notifies US authorities regarding Mexico’s obligations under the Mérida Initiative

November 26, 2011

On 9 November, members of the movements in resistance to high electricity-prices submitted a complaint to the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Guerrero (CODDEHUM) due to the intimidation suffered at the hands of soldiers on Tuesday 8 November who forced them to abandon the sit-in they had been engaging in at the office of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).  That Tuesday, some hours after the members of the resistance movement succeeded in closing the CFE offices in Chilpancingo as a form of protest against the high electricity prices imposed on marginalized communities, they were displaced by several soldiers.  Manuel Rivera Salazar, who was part of this protest, noted that although there was neither physical nor verbal violence, the mere act by the soldiers of disembarking from the Hummer with their arms “intimidated the comrades and we fell back to the other side of the street.”

In other news, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights is reporting that one year after the release of the historic sentences by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, several work-meetings were held in Washington DC to inform a number of US governmental authorities of the process of the implementation of both sentences, the operation of the military court and its implications for the investigations of these cases, and the content of what would be an adequate reform of the Code of Military Justice.  The informational bulletin of 8 November stresses that “The cases of Inés and Valentina form part of a large number of grave military abuses that go on in impunity.  To date, in Mexico the Military Prosecutor continues to investigate human-rights violations committed by soldiers against civilians, despite the decision by the Supreme Court of Justice in the Nation, the four sentences released by the IACHR, and the obligations of the Mérida Initiative.  The incapacity to appropriately judge these cases even with international attention and its high political costs reflects the lack of established civilian controls in Mexico over the armed forces.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Interponen queja contra militares en la Coddehum por desalojo en la CFE (La Jornada, 10 November)

Informan a autoridades del Gobierno de EEUU obligaciones de México Iniciativa Mérida (Tlachinollan, 8 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerero – briefs: high electricity prices are denounced (27 September)

Guerrero – briefs: march from Guerrero to Mexico City to demand a single price from CFE (22 September)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (4 February 2011)

Chiapas Forum: “Women’s Perspectives on Militarization”

October 20, 2009

foro mujeres y militarizacion

On October 2nd and 3rd, various organizations, among them SIPAZ, convened a forum on Women’s Perspectives on Militarization, which was held at CIDECI-Unitierra, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas. About 160 women from Guatemala, Honduras, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guerrero, and elsewhere participated along with those from the communities of Chiapas. Between lectures and table discussions, the women shared their ideas, sorrow, bravery, resistance, struggles, complaints, and injustices that their organizations and communities are enduring.

In the final declaration of the event, they stated:

“The increase, in the last decade, of militarization, para-militarization, and drug-militarization in Latin America has worsened violations of human rights, the most recent examples of which being the coup in Honduras and the installation of seven United States military bases in Colombia which signify, on the one hand, the weakening development of the fledgling democracies in Latin America, and, on the other, the strengthening of militarization as a means of control through the use of weapons, protests and proposals of social improvement through the neoliberal capitalist system in which poverty, corruption and violence are its principal expressions.

In this context, women will continue being used as the plunders of war, hostages, shields, forced to take place in activities that violate our dignity. The militarization seeks to appropriate our thoughts, spirits, families and territories. Today, we live in a militarized society in which power, coercion and violence are reproduced as a way of life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa del 2 de octubre

Pronunciamiento del Foro Perspectivas de las Mujeres ante la Militarización

Audios (in Spanish):

ponencias 2 de octubre

ponencias 3 de octubre


capsúla radiofónica

Mexico: Mexican civil organizations send letter regarding the Merida Initiative to the US Congress

May 8, 2009

On May 6, hundreds of Mexican organizations of the civil society sent a letter to members of the US Senate urging them to reconsider the military financing included in the Merida Initiative. This week, the US Congress will consider increasing aid to Mexican military and public security institutions as part of this Initiative.

The letter, signed by various human rights and non-governmental organizations, emphasized the increase in human rights violations that has accompanied the militarization of the war on drugs. They proposed that the funds should not go to the armed forces but instead should be used to strengthen civil institutions. The letter stressed that “In particular, we urge the United States to consider ways to support a holistic response to security problems; based on tackling the root causes of violence and ensuring the full respect of human rights; not on the logic of combat.”

The letter underscored that instead of continuing the militarization and the war on drugs, the governments of the United States and Mexico should focus on improving drug treatment programs, reducing the flow of arms to Mexico, deal with structural causes like poverty, inequality, the lack of educational opportunities, and in addition should work to strengthen civil institutions and improve the justice system.

For More Information:

To read the letter of the organizations of the civil society

Merida Initiative Portal, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

More Information from SIPAZ:

Mexico: US approves another 300 million dollars for Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative, SIPAZ Blog, 3/12/09

The Merida Initiative in Mexico (SIPAZ Report, 08/08)

Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ (8/20/08)