Irregular migrants in Mexico: Ten urgent measures to save lives

March 12, 2013

Irregular migrants in Mexico: Ten urgent measures to save lives

The only federal preventive and investigative measures appear to be limited to the work of the Specialist Unit on Trafficking of Children, Undocumented and Organs (Unididad Especializada de Tráfico de Menores, Indocumentados y Órganos) of the PGR's Organized Crime Section (SIEDO). This unit has a wide remit and the abuses committed against migrants are not its priority. Even worse, migrants' rights defenders have informed Amnesty International that since the new government took office, PGR officials on the migrant routes have ceased to focus on abuses against migrants and increased obstacles to accessing justice and protection – for example denying migrants and migrants' rights defenders copies of their complaints.2 As a result, Amnesty International believes the crisis is set to deteriorate.

Amnesty International is demanding action from the government in a number of priority areas:

  1. Ensure migrants' rights defenders at risk receive effective protection and all threats are fully investigates in order to bring perpetrators to justice;
  2. Guarantee federal, state and municipal government recognise and publicly support work of migrants' shelters;
  3. Implement federally lead and coordinate measures to prevent abuses against migrants, regardless of whether committed by criminal gangs or public officials;
  4. Improve security in coordination with federal, state and municipal authorities on transit routes to prevent migrants being targeted;
  5. Establish and implement protocols for investigation of crimes against migrants, such as kidnap, extortion, arbitrary arrest, sexual violence, trafficking, forced recruitment, ill-treatment and killing, in order that the particular vulnerability of migrants, including the obstacles they face reporting, testifying and obtaining justice, are taken into account;
  6. Facilitate complaints mechanisms for migrants to report abuses, receive copies of complaints, access humanitarian visas and witness protection;
  7. Make public quarterly information on implementation and impact of measures, such as prosecutions of perpetrators, including public officials;
  8. Ensure participation of independent international forensic experts, with the support of relative's groups, to develop and carry out reliable procedures to exhume and identify remains;
  9. Establish a database for disappeared migrants and related procedures, in consultation with civil society and international experts, in order that relatives can lodge information, including DNA, to assist in the identification of missing persons;
  10. Review in conjunction with civil society the implementation and impact on the protection of migrants' rights of migration law and its regulatory code.


1) According to INM, 88,501 migrants were detained in detention centres in 2012 compared with 66,583 in 2011 and 70,102 in 2010
2) The PGR is refusing to give migrants who file complaints about abuse with copies, making it difficult to demonstrate the plight as victim and dependent on the INM to request a copy in order as part of the process of obtaining a humanitarian visa.