WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Carlos Jasso)

2 Aug 2019 | News

Advisory Body: Mexico Security Forces Should Stop Harassing Those Defending Migrants

The Citizens’ Council of the National Migration Institution, a civil society advisory body to Mexico’s top immigration enforcement body (INM by its Spanish initials), issued an alert following various reports of members of the security forces harassing and intimidating those working to protect and uphold the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers. 

The alert notices recent incidents of harassment have been reported against migrant shelters across Mexico, in at least five states. The Council notes that under Mexican law, the INM is the only body responsible for enforcing migration law, raising questions about the role that Mexican security forces are playing in attempting to carry out inspections in various migrant shelters. Other actions by Mexican security forces appear to have been intended to intimidate or question the work of civil society groups providing humanitarian support to migrants and asylum seekers.

The Council called on Mexican authorities, including the presidency, the INM, and the ministries for foreign and interior affairs to direct the actions of security forces to follow Mexican law, as well as universal human rights principles concerning the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. 

As previously noted by human rights groups, the role played by Mexican security forces such as the National Guard in migration enforcement is cause for significant concern.

“Security forces should be held accountable for intimidation or threats against civil society organizations as well as cases of excessive use of force and human rights violations,” a human rights group coalition, including WOLA, has stated. “We urge the Mexican government to clarify the role of the National Guard with respect to migration enforcement activities and to not condone any activity that serves to criminalize human rights defenders.”

Read the Council’s full alert (in Spanish) here.