|Migrants are highly vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping, and other forms of abuse, violence, and exploitation during their journey through Mexico. (Jesuit Refugee Service)|
(Washington, D.C.) June 6, 2014 — Three events in the District of Colombia in the next week will highlight the growing humanitarian crisis for migrants in transit in Mexico. Generalized violence and widespread impunity in Mexico, combined with the need to travel clandestinely with limited resources, makes migrants in transit through Mexico highly vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation at each and every stage of their journey.
The Latin America Working Group Education Fund, the Washington Office on Latin America, and Jesuit Refugee Service/USA host a brown bag lunch on Tuesday and a discussion at Busboys and Poets on Wednesday, and on Thursday there is a Congressional briefing. The theme for all the events is: Human Rights in Transit: Confronting the Humanitarian Crisis of Central American Migration through Mexico.
Increasing numbers of Central American migrants crossing into the United States, especially through South Texas, have renewed attention on the humanitarian crisis surrounding migration in the region. Recently, this migration has included a greater flow of unaccompanied minors; 60,000 or more youths are projected to arrive at the U.S. southern border this fiscal year.
Migrants are highly vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping, and other forms of abuse, violence, and exploitation during their journey through Mexico. Organized crime groups seeking to diversify their income have identified migrants in transit as a population that can be targeted for profit with virtual impunity. Corrupt federal, state, and municipal officials are also complicit or directly involved in the abuse and exploitation of migrants.
The impunity for violence against migrants extends to abuses against advocates working to protect, shelter, and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in transit in Mexico. Human rights defenders have endured a range of threats for their work, including physical attacks, death threats, and slander campaigns.
The Mexican government, with U.S. support, has begun to implement a series of security initiatives along Mexico's southern border, including an increased presence of federal security agencies. Given the history of abuse against migrants by migration officials and municipal, state and federal security agencies, additional border enforcement in southern Mexico could have harmful human rights implications for migrants in transit while doing nothing to address the root causes spurring migration from Central America’s northern triangle.
Human Rights in Transit:
Confronting the Humanitarian Crisis of Central American Migration through Mexico
Brownbag Lunch Discussion
FeaturingAlberto Xicotencatl Carrasco
Casa del Migrante, Saltillo, Mexico
Sister Leticia Gutiérrez Valderrama
Scalabrinian Mission for Migrants and Refugees, Mexico
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Washington Office on Latin America
1666 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Event in Spanish with interpretation to English as requested.
Busboys and Poets
With presentations byAlberto Xicotencatl Carrasco
Director, Casa del Migrante, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
Sister Leticia Gutierrez Valderrama
Director General, Scalibrinian Mission for Migrants and Refugees
Followed by traditional Mexican music by
Son Cosita Seria
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th St NW Washington, D.C. 20009
Please note presentations will be in Spanish with English interpretation provided.
Human Rights in Transit — Violence Against Migrants in Mexico
Thursday, June 12, in Cannon House Office Building Room 121
In a letter to colleagues inviting them to the briefing, Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., notes:
"Central American migrants transiting through Mexico are susceptible to increasing levels of violence. Organized crime groups seeking to diversify their income have identified migrants as a population that can be targeted for profit with virtual impunity. At the same time, reports suggest that roughly 20% of migrant abuses occur at the hands of corrupt Mexican authorities who are complicit in migrant exploitation.
"Consequently, migrants, especially unaccompanied minors, are highly vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping and other forms of violence during their journey through Mexico. While Mexican law states that migrants who are the victims of trafficking, kidnapping and other serious crimes in Mexico should be eligible for humanitarian visas, the provision of such visas continues to be uneven and problematic.
"Measures to address this migrant humanitarian crisis have fallen short, leaving trafficking victims, children, and other migrants more vulnerable than ever. Impunity persists for criminals and corrupt officials who prey on migrants. This impunity also extends to attacks against migrant advocates working to protect, shelter, and provide humanitarian assistance. These advocates endure a range of threats for their work, including physical attacks, death threats, and slander campaigns."
Alberto Xicotencatl Carrasco
Director, Casa del Migrante, Saltillo, Mexico
Sister Leticia Gutierrez Valderrama
Director General, Scalabrinian Mission for Migrants and Refugees
Senior Associate, Latin American Working Group