Mexico City, Mexico, September 8, 2021 — After security forces have been repeatedly deployed to block the way of asylum seekers trying to go to the North of the country, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) asks the Mexican authorities to implement sustainable and humane measures to respond to the migration crises in the region, prioritizing people’s protection.
Meghan Lopez, the IRC’s regional vice president for Latin America, said:
“Worsening living conditions across Latin America, including the recent hurricanes and the earthquake that devastated Haiti, are contributing to an increase in the number of people who are forced to leave their homes to seek safety. People usually move inside their own countries first—like the 1.4 million people that just in northern Central America were displaced in 2020 by a combination of factors, including conflict and climate change in addition to worsening poverty, increasing levels of violence in homes and on the streets, and the effects of COVID-19—however most of them ultimately have no choice but to seek safety elsewhere.
“Mexico has a long history of welcoming people in times of crisis. In recent days we have seen reports about the country opening the doors to groups of evacuees from Afghanistan—news that we welcomed and efforts that we are supporting. It is necessary to remember, however, that people from northern Central America, and other countries like Haiti, Cuba or Venezuela, continue to also face humanitarian crises and they need alternatives to find safety too. The use of security forces cannot guarantee safety: as we have seen on different occasions this year, it can result in people being hurt or even killed, as well as in the separation of children from their families. Protection should be extended to those seeking safety no matter what their nationality.
“International law must be reinforced and respected to receive and assist people fleeing conflict. We call for funding and cooperation among the countries along the migration corridors in the region—including Mexico, which has a strategic position—to offer protection and alternatives for those in the most vulnerable situations. Seeking asylum is legal and efforts must be directed towards promoting collaboration between all sectors, including INGOs, to strengthen asylum policies and systems that guarantee the integrity of asylum seekers, regardless of their nationality or status.”
The IRC in Mexico
The IRC is responding along the main migration corridors in Mexico: from the southern to the northern borders and along the routes through the country. The IRC’s programs offer a timely and comprehensive response to the most urgent needs of people on the move, including: prevention and response to gender-based violence; access to critical information through InfoDigna, a multi-channel information platform; prevention and mitigation of COVID-19; economic recovery and development; child protection services; as well as identifying needs and referring cases to local service providers. Additionally, the IRC is supporting local integration efforts by providing cultural orientation to individuals who have chosen to stay in Mexico.