Asylum seekers from Honduras need protection not pushbacks


The images are impossible to forget.

Men, women and children, many with nothing more than tiny backpacks, walking with thousands of others on a long, exhausting, perilous journey from Honduras, through Guatemala and across the Mexican border.



A woman holding a sick baby in her arms, her face lined with worry.

A man who points to his young daughter and breaks into tears as he explains he could not forgive himself if anything happened to her.

Two boys, panic in their eyes, rescued from drowning as they attempt to cross the Suchiate River into southern Mexico.

These people have risked all to journey to Mexico because violence, persecution and extreme insecurity at home in Honduras have left them feeling they have no choice but to flee in search of protection.

Honduras is a country of widespread violence, horrific murder rates, corruption and extreme insecurity. It is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to defend human rights, land and the environment. It became even more dangerous following presidential elections last November, as police and military were deployed in a brutal crackdown on massive protests against alleged election fraud. Thousands were killed, injured or detained – sending a chilling message that dissent will not be allowed.

Thousands and thousands have now left this nightmare in a “migrants caravan” that many say is better described as an exodus.

They know they face a hard, dangerous journey with no guarantees of safety at the end. But the hard, dangerous situation at home leaves many feeling they have no option but to migrate.

Against this heartrending backdrop, Amnesty International has called on Mexican authorities to guarantee the human rights of the men, women and children who are arriving at the southern border.

Far too often, Mexican immigration authorities have pushed back migrants from Central America to life-threatening situations, even death, in flagrant violation of international protection obligations.

Amnesty International investigators were at Mexico’s southern border this past week. What we saw confirmed the findings of our report Overlooked, Under-Protected: Mexico’s Deadly Refoulement of Central Americans Seeking Asylum.

Our team documented how 1,500 asylum seekers, including children and families, were locked up by Mexican authorities on October 20. They were tricked into believing they were going to a refuge, only to find out they were being detained without protection of their rights. Amnesty International and local human rights organizations have been denied access. This in turn denies vulnerable men, women and children the right to legal assistance, putting them at risk of deportation to potentially life threatening situations in their home country.

We are gravely concerned that Mexico is failing to uphold its international obligation to protect asylum seekers and putting lives in danger.

Outrageous threats by US President Donald Trump raise fears that Mexican authorities will cave to pressure from their powerful northern neighbour and deport asylum seekers.

Your voice is urgently needed now to tell Mexico you are watching, we are watching!

Please take action! The rights of desperate men, women and children fleeing the worst, hoping for safe haven, cannot be ignored.