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Mexico

    January 15, 2018
    A Mexican immigration officer prepares to deport a child and his mother to Guatemala  Photo credit: Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images

    Mexico is on the front lines of a massive refugee crisis, a crisis effectively hidden by our mass media’s single-minded focus on the plight of refugees seeking safe haven in Europe.

    Huge numbers of people are fleeing across the southern border from Guatemala into Mexico because they fear for their lives amidst skyrocketing violence in Guatemala, and neighbouring El Salvador and Honduras, countries with some of the highest murder rates on the planet. 

    Mexico has laws and systems to protect refugees in Mexico. Yet Mexican authorities are constantly failing to comply with their legal obligations. Instead, they are sending endangered people back to life-threatening situations.  

    Agents of the Mexican Immigration Service detain migrants in San Mateo, Chiapas Photo:ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

    January 11, 2018

    While families were celebrating Christmas holidays at home, police in the city of Chilpancingo forcibly disappeared 5 young men, using chilling tactics that mirror those used by organized crime, said Amnesty International.

    “Tragically, the enforced disappearance of these young men is the latest of a long line of horrors have befallen Guerrero state. The warning signs of corruption and terrible human rights violations have been there for all to see, and those officials that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The organization recently carried out field research in Chilpancingo that confirmed the enforced disappearance of Alán Alexis along with two teenagers under 18, on the 27 December 2017, as well as the enforced disappearance, of Jorge Vázquez Campos and Marco Catalán Cabrera on the 30 December 2017 in the local city fair.

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, today directed an open letter to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, calling on the leader to veto the Law on Interior Security that passed Mexico´s Congress on Friday.

    Speaking on behalf of an organization that represents a movement of more than 7 million people around the world, Shetty noted that “behind the vague and overly broad concept of ‘interior security’, the law conceals dangerous and concerted efforts to maintain the role of the armed forces in public security functions.”

    Amnesty International is seriously concerned that this law will, without a doubt, perpetuate the long list of grave human rights violations in Mexico, including extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances.

    This is despite clear evidence that this strategy has failed to improve public security during the decade since the army was deployed on the streets of Mexico.

    November 27, 2017

    The lives and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) from violence-ridden El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are at an increased risk as authorities in their countries fail to protect them, leaving them with no choice but to flee their countries and face further dangers in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report today.  

    No Safe Place uncovers the treacherous journey faced by gay men and trans women refugees fleeing rocketing levels of discrimination and gender-based violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras from criminal gangs and members of security forces. It also accuses Mexican authorities of failing to protect them from violations and abuses while travelling through the country, and highlights unbearable experiences during prolonged and systematic immigration detention in the USA.

    “People are facing vicious discrimination in Central America due to their gender identities, and have absolutely nowhere to run for safety,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 17, 2017

    Ottawa -- Days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state visit to Mexico, nine leading Mexican human rights experts are in Ottawa to seek strengthened Canadian support for their efforts to address an acute and worsening human rights crisis in Mexico.

    While Canada has been vocal in its support for the victims of two severe earthquakes that hit Mexico in September, the visiting Mexican human rights experts want Canada to respond with even greater attention to the hundreds of thousands of victims of an acute human rights emergency that worsens with each day.

    October 02, 2017

    Pictured above: Indigenous Leader and Human Rights Defender - Mario Luna Romero

    September 29, 2017

    Photo: Amnesty International Mexico

    Download a PDF of UA 224/17 Mexico

    224 Mexico.pdf

    September 20, 2017

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.

    It may not have grabbed headlines but it was nonetheless long overdue good news from Mexico!

    The CNDH, the Mexican government’s human rights commission, issued an important public statement on September 10, calling for action by authorities to ensure justice for Angel Amílcar Colón, the indigenous Garifuna human rights defender who was tortured and unjustly imprisoned for 5 long years.

    In September 2014, our Secretary General Alex Neve visited Angel in jail and blogged about his grace, dignity and inspiring commitment to justice, despite the horrendous abuses he was suffering.

    Amnesty International named Angel a prisoner of conscience and began campaigning for his release with the legal team at Mexico’s Centro Prodh human rights centre.

    We were thrilled when our joint efforts successfully won Angel his freedom in October 2014.

    July 25, 2017
      The phone rang at four in the afternoon, exactly as scheduled. The ringing heightened the tension in the small living room of the 1950s house in Mexico City.    “Will you accept a call from the West Federal Prison?” said the voice at the end of the line.   “Yes, of course. Yes, I will,” Blanca responded, visibly nervous, as if she hadn’t done this before.   But Blanca Aviña Guerrero has done this many times before. She has been doing it every Friday since her youngest son, Enrique, was arbitrarily detained by federal police in May 2013 and eventually thrown into a maximum security prison in the state of Jalisco, around 540 km west of Mexico City.    Authorities claim Enrique, 28, was involved in kidnapping the nephews of a well-known local businessman.   But a closer look at his case reveals a more sinister story.   False suspicions  
    July 25, 2017

    By Josefina Salomón, Amnesty International in Mexico

    The phone rang at four in the afternoon, exactly as scheduled. The ringing heightened the tension in the small living room of the 1950s house in Mexico City. 

    “Will you accept a call from the West Federal Prison?” said the voice at the end of the line.

    “Yes, of course. Yes, I will,” Blanca responded, visibly nervous, as if she hadn’t done this before.

    July 13, 2017

    The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.

    “The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    July 07, 2017
    Defensoras meet with MP Elizabeth May in June 2016 Credit: K Price/Amnesty International Canada

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner at Amnesty International Canada

    It was a year ago that Amnesty International Canada organized a visit to Ottawa by courageous Mexican human rights defenders. Among them was Pilar Arrese (above right), of the highly respected Miguel Augustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, an organization known as Centro Prodh with three decades of exemplary work with victims of horrendous abuses in their quest for truth, justice and reforms to protect human rights.

    At meetings with Canada's then Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion (left), officials in the Prime Minister's Office and MPs that included Elizabeth May (above), Pilar provided powerful evidence of a dire human rights crisis in Mexico and the involvement of the country's security forces.

    June 19, 2017

    Responding to a NYT’s article that disclosed the use of software to spy on Mexican journalists and human rights defenders, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This new chilling evidence confirms that Mexican journalists and human rights defenders are a target of illegal practices designed to interfere and hinder their work. These findings are consistent with Amnesty International's previous research and show a clear pattern of illegal use of technology in an attempt to control any criticism against those in power.”

    “Journalists and human rights defenders constantly put their lives at risk in order to defend everybody’s rights and to inform the public. This is not a crime and surveillance into these activities is illegal and cannot be justified. These actions should be promptly and adequately investigated.”

    Background

    May 19, 2017
    Journalists in Mexico protested this May 16 against the killing of one of their colleagues and called on the government to take action.

    By Erika Guevara-Rosas

    The tragic news of the brutal murder of Javier Valdez Cárdenas, a Mexican journalist renowned for his fearless reporting of the drug war wreaking havoc across Mexico, has sent shockwaves through the country.

    His journalism was particularly well-known in his home town of Culiacán, in Sinaloa. There, thousands of people are virtual hostages of a war between ruthless drug cartels and a government that is at best, unable to protect its people and, at worse, in collusion with those it claims to be fighting against.

    Javier was gunned down by unidentified men near the office of Riodoce, the weekly newspaper he founded and one of the few in the state still reporting on the wave of deaths sweeping through the area.

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