Mexico City, Mexico, March 30, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) condemns the actions taken by police officers that led to the death of Victoria Salazar, a Salvadoran citizen and holder of a humanitarian visa, in Tulum, Mexico, on Saturday.
Meghan Lopez, the IRC’S regional vice president for Latin America, said: “The IRC stands with two of the most vulnerable populations—women and refugees—to grieve the loss of Victoria Salazar, and many other women who have been victims of gender-based and police violence. According to official sources, Victoria, a mother of two, had been living in Mexico for over five years under a humanitarian visa.
More than 712,000 people from northern Central America, including El Salvador, are displaced every year due to a combination of factors, including violence and insecurity. Many of them arrive in Mexico with a clear goal of making their way to the United States. Others, like Victoria, hope they can rebuild their lives in Mexico, work hard, and go through long processes to get humanitarian visas, despite many challenges, including ongoing violence and insecurity in the country.
“Where so many are forced to make desperate choices, having the option for asylum is a form of relief that must be protected and expanded; but such protection must be real and meaningful for all who seek it.
“To address the migration crisis in Latin America we must address root causes, but at the same time it is imperative to work together to offer protection and alternatives for people in the most vulnerable situations—people who have no choice but to seek asylum abroad—to be safe and thrive. This includes supporting and strengthening existing asylum systems and policies in countries like Mexico. However, the work does not end once asylum is granted: governments must guarantee protection for people, regardless of their nationality or status, before, during and even after their process.”
The International Rescue Committee has identified Mexico as a key player to respond to the migration crisis in Latin America, not only as a country of origin and transit, but as a potential destination. Nevertheless, rising levels of violence in the country, xenophobia, and pervasive impunity for perpetrators of violence remain sources of great pain and anguish for its population, including migrants and asylum-seekers.
The IRC in Mexico
The IRC is working to expand and scale up much-needed programs in border towns, communities across the country that are caught in the middle of the migration crisis and those that might be able to provide a safe haven, but with complex needs and gaps in services and needed protections, more funding is urgently needed. Its current programming includes supporting women’s protection and empowerment (WPE); economic recovery and development; mental health and psychosocial support; cultural orientation for resettlement and integration; and access to critical information through a dynamic digital platform InfoDigna, part of the Global Signpost project. The IRC is seeking to expand its scope in Mexico to health care, education and prevention of violence, with a special focus on gender-based violence.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.