Document - Mexico: Migrants at risk of harm


UA: 274/12 Index: AMR 41/069/2012 Mexico Date: 5 October 2012


migrants at risk of harm

On 3 October, at least 40 irregular migrants (those without travel documents) crossing Mexico were kidnapped from a freight train, allegedly by a criminal gang. Their fate is unknown and there are fears for their safety. In a neighbouring state, other irregular migrants are at risk of ill-treatment and injury as a result of migrant control operations.

According to witnesses, around 40 irregular migrants were kidnapped from a freight train in Medias Aguas, Veracruz state, while travelling across Mexico. Their fate remains unknown. Thousands of migrants have been kidnapped and often killed, raped and ill-treated by criminal gangs often operating in collusion with public authorities.

Meanwhile in the neighbouring state of Tabasco, the National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) has reactivated its policy of widespread detentions of irregular migrants, several of which have resulted in abuses and placed migrants at physical risk. According to human rights workers at the migrants’ shelter in Tenosique, an INM operation to detain migrants boarding a freight train in Tenosique on 3 October resulted in a woman being injured. In another instance near Tenosique, a Honduran man was injured as INM agents pursued him in the community of San Isidro Guasiván. Another migrant beaten in the ribs by INM agents during the same operation has filed a complaint with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República).

On 4 October, Fray Tómas González – the priest running the shelter in Tenosique – and Rubén Figueroa – a rights activist for migrants – chained themselves to the gates of the INM office in the town for 12 hours, to protest the tactics of the INM agents. The procedures of INM agents frequently fail to comply with international standards on minimum use of force. The human rights defenders were also protesting at the failure of INM to hold to account agents implicated in sexual abuse of a migrant child as confirmed by the National Human Rights Commission report issued on 28 September.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

Demanding authorities investigate and locate migrants reported abducted at Medias Aguas, and ensure the safety of witnesses;

Urging authorities to review INM policy and practice on detention of irregular migrants to ensure that they are in line with standards on minimum use of force and all reasonable measures are taken to avoid placing migrants at risk of harm;

Demanding authorities investigate allegations that INM operations have resulted in injuries to migrants, including beatings.


INM Commissioner

Salvador Beltrán del Río

Homero 1832, Col. Los Morales Polanco, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo, C.P. 11510, México D.F., México


Fax: +52 55 5557 9865 (ask for “fax” – “me da tono de fax, por favour”)

Salutation: Dear Commissioner

Attorney General of the Republic

Marisela Morales Ibáñez

Paseo de la reforma 211-213

Col. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F.

C.P. 06500, México

Fax: +52 55 5346 0908 (keep trying, and ask for "fax")


Salutation: Dear Attorney General

And copies to:

Migrants’ House “Brothers on the Road”

Casa del Migrante “Hermanos en el Camino”


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


migrants at risk of harm

ADditional Information

Hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants attempt to travel through Mexico from Central and South America every year to reach the USA. Many are detained by the Mexican migration authorities and returned to their countries of origin. Amnesty International has visited Mexico to investigate reports of human rights violations against these people. During the visit, Amnesty International found that many had been kidnapped by gangs, sometimes with the complicity of local officials. Impunity for abuses against migrants, who are extremely vulnerable, has allowed these abuses to increase, despite government commitments to ensure respect of migrants' rights.

Amnesty International launched an action designed to make visible the plight of migrants travelling through Mexico and to provide much needed assistance to migrants travelling across the country. You can take action here:

Name: Around 40 irregular migrants

Gender m/f: both

UA: 274/12 Index: AMR 41/069/2012 Issue Date: 5 October 2012


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