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Canada: Speak Up for the Protection of Refugees in Mexico

    Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:52
    Mexican authorities detain asylum seekers (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Saúl* (we are not sharing his real name or his face because of ongoing risks for his family) fled to Mexico from Honduras after surviving an armed attack that caused him to fear for his life.

    He applied for asylum but Mexican authorities rejected his claim, arguing that Saul could find safety in Honduras. He was swiftly deported in violation of his right to appeal the decision.

    Amnesty International researchers interviewed Saúl in Honduras three weeks later. He expressed an acute fear for his life and had already suffered an attack in his house on arriving home. A few days later, Saúl was murdered.

    This is no isolated case.  

    Mexican migration authorities routinely turn back thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to their countries without considering the risk to their life and security upon return.

    Called the “Northern Triangle”, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras continue to experience widespread, war-like violence, with homicide rates four to eight times higher than what the World Health Organization considers “epidemic”. As gangs control vast areas of these countries, the women and girls who live there face elevated risks of sexual violence.

    Under international law, Mexico is obligated to protect people who have a well-founded fear of persecution. Instead, officials send many back to a situation where death could be imminent, as Amnesty has documented in our new report, entitled Overlooked, Underprotected.

    “Here we are not interested in your lives,” a Mexican immigration official told a young asylum seeker Amnesty interviewed. “Our job is to deport you.”


    1. Sign the online petition to authorities in Mexico.

    2. Write a letter of concern to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister.

    Canada has influence with Mexico due to economic ties, the NAFTA agreement and other programs of cooperation.

    • Start your letter with a sentence about yourself and where you are writing from.
    • Express your concern about the plight of thousands of people fleeing the Northern Triangle countries of Central America into Mexico each year in search of safe haven, only to see their human rights violated and face deportation back to life-threatening violence.
    • Call on Minister Freeland to use Canada’s relationship and influence with Mexico to urge that the rights of people seeking safety in Mexico are fully respected. You may wish to mention that one upcoming moment is the Bilateral Canada-Mexico Human Rights Dialogue in March.

    Send your letter to:

    Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    House of Commons
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
    Twitter: @cafreeland

    THANK YOU for raising your voice for the protection of refugees in Mexico!