WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

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24 Oct 2018 | News

Report: Mexico Government Must Guarantee Migrant Caravan’s Access to Protection and Humanitarian Assistance

As the migrant caravan makes its way through Mexico, members of the Citizens’ Council of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, CCINM)—a body that serves as a platform for formal dialogue between civil society and the INM—visited Mexico’s southern border zone from October 20-23, in order to document the conditions facing migrants in the area as well as the Mexican government’s response to the situation.

In a report based on its observations, the Citizens’ Council reports that members of the caravan that had been waiting at the international bridge to apply to regularize their immigration status in Mexico crossed into the country on October 22. They are now gathered at the Tapachula fairground facilities in the state of Chiapas, where authorities are receiving migrants who have decided to begin the regularization process.

According to information provided by the INM, since October 19, 1,699 migrants have requested asylum and 30 percent (495 migrants) have been deported, including some that arrived with the caravan. In terms of the asylum application process, the Citizens’ Council found that there is no systematized procedure for ensuring migrants are informed of the status of their asylum application or possible alternatives to detention.

According to the report, humanitarian agencies, officials from all three levels of government, human rights bodies, and other organizations like the Red Cross are providing assistance to migrants at the Tapachula fairgrounds, but there is still a serious shortage of food, basic health services, and other necessities.

In terms of the migrants that are continuing on to other parts of Mexico, the Citizens’ Council noted the presence of a group of people that are spreading misinformation within the caravan, hindering members’ access to humanitarian assistance and accurate information about their rights and regularization options. The report highlights the need for Mexican authorities to disseminate information about migrants’ rights in areas where they are gathered, and to ensure their physical security and access to medical attention and other basic needs throughout their journey through Mexico.

Read the CCINM’s report here (in Spanish).