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Mexico

    September 04, 2019

    September 26 is an important date for defenders of human rights in Mexico and their allies around the world. It marks five years since police attacked buses carrying students from a rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa and took 43 of the students away, never to be seen again. 

    Finding out what happened and bringing to justice everyone who played a role is obviously of tremendous importance to the families and classmates of the 43, who have never stopped looking for their loved ones. 

    Truth and justice for the 43 also has far-reaching consequences across Mexico.

    The disappearance of the 43 students has come to symbolize a massive nationwide crisis. More than 40,000 people are now reported missing and the number continues to climb amid a toxic mix of corruption, collusion on the part of state security forces, lack of effective investigation and cover-ups.

    "This case is emblematic because it represents the heart of corruption and impunity in Mexico, and the main challenge is breaking impunity pacts."

               ~ Mario Patron Sanchez, Centro Prodh Human Rights Centre

    May 04, 2019

     

    PLEASE NOTE: This action is open until the first week of June.

    Throughout the month of May, we are collecting cards to echo the calls for action by mothers of the disappeared in Mexico.

    May 10 is Mother's Day in Mexico. Thousands of mothers marked the date by taking part in a huge Mother's Day March for Dignity (promoted in their poster, left), carrying the photos of sons and daughters who disappeared, never to be seen again. The mothers of the disappeared organize the march to make visible the massive dimensions of this heart-rending crisis and to call for action.

    Our solidarity is vital!

    More than 40,000 people are now reported missing in Mexico. It's a staggering number that only continues to grow. Some people were abducted by criminal gangs. In other cases, public officials were involved.

    January 31, 2019
    Mexico USA border wall with barbed wire at top

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers.|

    El Paso, Texas

    So many times over the past two years, since Donald Trump’s presidency and assault on the rights of refugees and migrants began, I have asked myself: what more will it take for the Canadian government to agree that the United States is not “safe” when it comes to refugee protection?

    And while I do not have the answer yet, as the accounts of utter contempt for international obligations and the lack of even a minimal sense of compassion mounted during our visit to Tijuana, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez this week, as a Canadian I felt a deepening sense of shame that this remains an open question.

    What more will it take?

    January 30, 2019

    Photo: Mother and son holding hands at the shelter for the Migrant Caravan in November 2018. 

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers. 

    The polarizing and politicized discourse about refugees, migrant and border policy in the United States revolves around ugly chants and a long list of terms and agencies that are at once sinister and incomprehensible: #BuildTheWall, Migration Protection Protocols, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), Customs and Border Patrol, pushbacks and zero-tolerance.

    But what is truly at stake and so lost in the swirling toxic debate are peoples’ hopes, lives and rights.

    January 28, 2019

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers. 

    Tijuana, Mexico

    We began the day walking across the border between the United States and Mexico, separating San Ysidro, California and Tijuana. We ended the day back at that exact same border post, accompanying three courageous LGBTQ teens from Honduras as they sought, against considerable odds, to lodge their asylum claims with US officials.

    In between we had ample occasion to see and hear firsthand that despite Donald Trump’s toxic rhetoric, the only crisis that is playing out along this frontier is a politically-driven one that spreads distortions and fear on the backs of people – mainly, but not only, from Mexico and Central America – who are fleeing terrifying persecution, endemic violence and grinding poverty.

    It is a crisis of conscience, compassion and justice.

    December 04, 2018

    By Maha Asad, Amnesty Canada's National Youth Action and Advisory Council

    Signing petitions and writing letters to protect human rights matters! Achieving our desired goals may take time but raising our voices helps create pressure. I saw that first hand during a visit to the Embassy of Mexico in Ottawa on November 20th.

    We met with Ambassador Arturo Hernández Basave (below 3R) and Legal Affairs Secretary Alfonso Vera Sanchez (left) and handed over more than 35,000 messages of support, solidarity and calls for action on behalf of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, as well as other victims of grave human rights abuses in Mexico.

    May 11, 2018
    Amnesty International Canada's Alex Neve speaks at March for Dignity in Mexico City

    It was a day of powerful solidarity and deeply appreciated action across borders, in support of families in Mexico facing what can only be described as a nightmare.

    May 10 is Mother’s Day in Mexico. A day for family celebration. But not for the ever-growing number of families whose sons or daughters have been taken away and made to disappear, while authorities have turned a blind eye. For these families, May 10 has become a day to take to the streets, make visible their pain, and call for action.

    This year, they asked us to speak out with them. And speak out we did!

    It began first thing in the morning in Ottawa, as a delegation led by Executive Director Jayne Stoyles, knocked on the doors of the Mexican Embassy and delivered 36 white flowers to Mexico’s Ambassador in Canada, honouring the more than 35,000 people reported disappeared in Mexico.

    May 09, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Kathy Price and Geneviève Paul

    A morning of such emotion.  Beauty, love and compassion.  Sadness, sorrow and loss. Indignation, determination, courage and strength.  All held at the same time in our hearts.

    Such is the cruel reality of Mexico’s crisis of disappearance.  And the steely courage of the families whose determined struggle for truth, justice and reforms does not relent.

    What an honour for Amnesty International to join mothers and families of the disappeared in the city of Chihuahua in northern Mexico this morning, to make public and present to them dozens of beautiful hand-crafted solidarity butterflies with heartfelt messages of concern and support from Canadians from coast to coast.

    April 23, 2018

     

    More than 35,000 people are now reported disappeared in Mexico! It’s a staggering number that continues to climb every day.  

    One of the most notorious cases involves 43 students who were taken away by police in September 2014 and never seen again. The government’s “investigation” has failed to find the students, and is widely accused of covering up an extensive web of complicity involving authorities at all levels of the Mexican state.

    Hilda Legideño continues to search for her son Jorge Antonio, forcibly disappeared with other students of Ayotzinapa on September 26, 2014 Photo by Scott Brennan

    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

     

    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

    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 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.

    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.

    April 11, 2017

    An Amnesty International team recently returned from the US-Mexico border where they investigated how President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security threaten to affect thousands of people. 

    This is what they found.

    What did you find at the border? 

    We spent almost two weeks visiting towns and cities on both sides of the US-Mexico border, talking to migrants, asylum seekers, human rights activists and government officials. We travelled the entire length of the land border, something that no other international human rights organization has done since Trump took office. We knew this was essential to get a clear picture of what was happening in what has become one of the most talked-about places on earth. 

    We were surprised by what we found. 

    Most places were quiet – but the kind of edgy quiet before a big storm kicks in. Because President Trump’s executive orders are setting the scene for what could turn into a full-blown refugee crisis. 

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