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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. 

    April 11, 2017

    By Madeleine Penman, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International

    The sight of one of the most infamous borders on earth – roughly 1,000 kilometers of porous metal fence dividing lives, hopes and dreams between the USA and Mexico, is undoubtedly overwhelming, but not in the way we expected it to be.

    While it has been one of the most talked about issues since last year’s USA election campaign, the stretch of land that separates the USA and Mexico now lies eerily quiet.

    September 26, 2016

    By Kathy Price

    This commentary was first published on iPolitics 

    It was an unusual but defining image: two smiling heads of state jogging together across an Ottawa bridge in shorts and t-shirts.

    July 22, 2016

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner at Amnesty International Canada

    They are bright and beautiful, they are eye-catching, and they carry a powerful message – a message of concern, solidarity and enormous caring. 

    Amnesty supporters in communities, big and small, from all across Canada are creating butterfly messages to make visible how they feel about a shocking epidemic of disappearances in Mexico, as well as threats to the safety of family members seeking the return of their loved ones.

    Monarch butterflies unite Mexico and Canada. Their annual life-giving migration across borders makes them the perfect symbol for Canadians to express our support for Mexican families courageously confronting an agonizing, hidden crisis.
     

    June 23, 2016
    Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secetary-General, documents the Mexico Defensoras Delegation's visit to Ottawa on the eve of the Three Amigos summit. They came with an urgent message for Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama: Don't sweep Mexico's grave human rights crisis under the carpet!    The Mexico Defensoras Delegation are: Claudia Medina Tamariz- Breaking the Silence about Sexual Torture, Rompiendo el Silencio Brenda Rangel Ortiz - Justice for the Disappeared, Desaparecidos Justicia CA Marta Sanchez - Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano Pilar Arrese Alcaca - Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Centro Prodh   DAY 1
    February 02, 2016

    By Kathy Price, Amnesty International Canada’s campaigner on Mexico

    Stéphane Dion has an important opportunity to set a new course for hemispheric diplomacy when he hosts his counterparts from Mexico and the United States at the North American Foreign Ministers meeting on Friday.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already promised a leaders’ summit to reinvigorate the Three Amigos partnership. As the foreign ministers meet to lay the groundwork, a worsening human rights crisis in Mexico must figure prominently on the agenda.

    The dimensions of the crisis were made glaringly visible in September 2014, when police in the town of Iguala opened fire on buses carrying students from a rural teacher-training college. Three were killed and 43 other students were taken away, ‘disappearing’ into thin air. Their relatives and classmates have spent 16 agonizing months trying unsuccessfully to find the 43 amidst an official investigation so flawed as to provoke widespread allegations of a cover-up aimed at hiding the truth about what happened — and who was involved.

    December 09, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada

    The hug, the smiling faces outside the barbed wire perimeter of El Hongo Prison, tell this latest good news story from Mexico!

    Adrián Vásquez is free from a nightmare of torture and unjust imprisonment – free, at last, to return to his wife Judith and their family.

    Adrián’s release came in the early morning of December 2nd, more than three years after he was picked up by police in Tijuana and tortured so badly that he required life-saving surgery. The 33-year-old bus driver and father of four was driving his car when police pulled him over, accused him of being a notorious drug trafficker driving a stolen vehicle.  Their “evidence” alone was used to charge and imprison Adrián for three anguished years while his trial was ongoing.

     

    Hours after Adrián’s release, there was more good news!

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