Urgent Action: Asylum Seekers at Risk of Mass Detentions (Mexico: UA 84.19)
June 12, 2019
Simultaneous to negotiations between the USA and Mexico around possible tariffs on Mexican goods, hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers were detained on Mexico’s southern border on the highway near Metapa in Chiapas state. On 5 June, Mexican migration agents and elements of the National Guard detained approximately 400 people. They were taken to an already overcrowded detention center, and many were deported the following day without proper explanation to their right to seek asylum or explore other migratory options in Mexico. On 6 June, the government announced the deployment of 6,000 National Guard members to Mexico’s southern border.
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Olga Sánchez Cordero
Minister of Interior
Calle Abraham González No. 48 Col. Juárez,
Cuauhtémoc. Ciudad de México,
C.P. 06600 MÉXICO
Dear Minister Sánchez Cordero,
I write in relation to the disturbing situation on Mexico’s southern border including the mass detention of 400 migrants and asylum seekers on 5 June and the announced deployment of 6,000 members of the National Guard.
The mass detention of migrants and asylum seekers without prior individualized assessments violates international law. These detentions and expedited deportations undermine the rights of people fleeing their countries to seek international protection and their due process rights. Also, returning people to territories where their life or safety may be at risk violates international law.
These measures place migrant families and children at great risk and will not stop them from fleeing their countries.
I urge you to immediately prevent arbitrary detentions of migrants and asylum seekers, ensure that children are never detained, and replace the deployment of the National Guard with a humanitarian response that individually assesses the needs of people entering Mexico.