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Mexico: Investigation needed after migrant shot dead

, Index number: AMR 41/051/2009

A group of seven irregular migrants travelling through Chiapas state were shot at by members of the security forces. One migrant was killed and all other migrants were injured. Two of the irregular migrants are being guarded while they receive treatment in hospital.

UA: 261/09 Index: AMR 41/051/2009 Mexico Date: 1 October 2009
URGENT ACTION
INVESTIGATION NEEDED AFTER MIGRANT SHOT DEAD
A group of seven irregular migrants travelling through Chiapas state were shot at by members of
the security forces. One migrant was killed and all other migrants were injured. Two of the
irregular migrants are being guarded while they receive treatment in hospital.
On 18 September, seven migrants, all irregular as they were travelling without the required documents, were being
transported in a pick up truck by two people smugglers near the town of Comitán, Chiapas state, southern Mexico.
The migrants have stated that as their driver approached a security check point he initially slowed down but as he
was told to stop, he sped off. The security forces gave pursuit and opened fire on the pick up truck, hitting it
repeatedly. As a result the truck broke down a few minutes later. One Salvadorian man, Víctor Alexander Melgar
Lemus, was fatally wounded and all other migrants, as well as one of the people smugglers, received gunshot
wounds. The authorities have not disclosed whether the police or the army were staffing the check-point or who
opened fire on the pick up truck.
Despite being injured in the attack, three irregular migrants fled the scene. The other three, who were seriously
wounded, only managed to walk a short distance from the truck. The irregular migrants have said that both military
and police officers arrived at the scene and started to interrogate them, then kicked and hit them with gun butts.
One of the men reported that he was struck directly on a gunshot wound.
Two migrants are currently receiving treatment in hospital and are being guarded by National Migration Institute
officials, while the third one is in detention and in the process of being deported to his country of origin. The
National Human Rights Commission opened an investigation into the incident, but it is not clear whether the federal
or state Attorney General’s Office have opened criminal investigations into the killing of Víctor Alexander Melgar
Lemus, the use of lethal force and subsequent ill-treatment of the migrants. There are concerns that the migrants
may be intimidated or threatened by the security forces responsible in order to deter them from pursuing a
complaint.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
Urging the authorities to open an investigation into the apparent use of excessive force and the ill-treatment of
the irregular migrants that lead to the death of Víctor Alexander Melgar Lemus and the wounding of six others;
calling for the safety of all the migrants who witnessed the events to be guaranteed and for them to be provide
temporary visas so they can assist in the investigation into the incident and alleged abuses without fear of reprisals
or repatriation.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 12 November 2009 TO:
Attorney General of the Republic
Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Procuraduría General de la República
Av. Paseo de la Reforma nº 211-213,
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06500, MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 5346 0908
Email: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Señor
Procurador General
Minister of Interior
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er piso
Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P.06600, MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414
Email: secretario@segob.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Secretario/Dear
Minister
Governor of Chiapas state
Lic. Juan José Sabines Guerrero
Gobernador del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno, Col. Centro
29000, Tuxtla Gtz, Chiapas, MEXICO
Fax: +52 961 618 8050. Then dial
extension number 21122
Email: juansabines@chiapas.gob.mx
Salutation: Dear Governor/Señor
Gobernador
Also send copies to Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación, enlace@enlacecc.org and to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Date: 1 October 2009
URGENT ACTION
INVESTIGATION NEEDED ATER MIGRANT SHOT DEAD
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
recently visited Mexico to investigate reports of human rights violations against these people. It found that many had been
kidnapped by gangs, sometimes with the complicity of local officials. These gangs and the corrupt officials are rarely brought to
justice and people who file complaints against them may face reprisals and swift deportation. Impunity for abuses against
migrants, who are extremely vulnerable, has allowed these abuses to increase since about 2003, despite government
commitments to ensure respect of migrants' rights.
This is not the first time this year that security forces shot, injured and killed migrants being transported by people smugglers,
see Urgent Action 11/09, AMR 41/002/2009 issued on 15 January 2009, available at
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR41/002/2009/en/
UA: 261/09 Index: AMR 41/051/09 Issue Date: 1 October 2009

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