By Vatican News staff writer
In a note to Mexican authorities from the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Human Rights Centre 'Juan Gerardi de Torreón', the two organisations call for respect and ask that the human rights of migrants and those seeking international protection in Mexico be guaranteed.
In particular, the two bodies denounce the persecution, criminalisation and arbitrary detention of migrants in Mexico, describing it as a recurrent situation. They stress that, in reality, state and municipal security forces should not participate in migration operations because their intervention is contrary to legislative provisions. At the same time, the two bodies urge the Ministry of Security to 'respect international human rights treaties and refrain from any act of intimidation, threat or obstruction of the work of human rights defenders or humanitarian workers'.
The incident that triggered
The note from the two organisations was prompted by what happened on the afternoon of 22 July, when twelve migrants from the centre were aggressively searched by four policemen, who stole their money and personal belongings. The humanitarian volunteers tried to intervene, but were violently repelled by an officer who claimed that the migrants were in possession of drugs. This accusation was not proven in any way. The incident triggered threats and intimidation by the police officers against the volunteers, who were also physically assaulted and had their mobile phones, which they were using to record the violence, destroyed.
The Jesuits and the Centre therefore call on the Attorney General of the country, Gertz Manero, to carry out an effective investigation into what happened, while the National Human Rights Commission is asked to investigate, in general, all human rights violations against asylum seekers and refugees, as well as violations committed against human rights defenders.
The Human Rights Centre 'Juan Gerardi de Torreón' has been working since 1999 in the La Laguna de Torreón region of Coahuila, promoting a culture of peace and respect for human rights. Its current areas of work include Central American transmigration, water and environmental protection, and human rights education. The organisation also documents cases of missing persons and provides humanitarian support to migrants passing through Torreón on their way to the United States of America.