Advocates Urge Mexico to Protect Migrants in Transit

Central Americans Headed to US Suffer Kidnapping, Assault

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SALTILLO, Mexico, JULY 13, 2010 ( The director of a refuge for migrants in Saltillo is decrying a “humanitarian tragedy” that has involved thousands of illegal migrants who have been kidnapped or assaulted in Mexico as they travel toward the United States.

Gabriel Duperou, director of the Hostel for Migrants, along with Bishop Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, commented on the sixth report published by that institution regarding violence against migrants in transit.

The report laments that “political vacuums in various regions of Mexico, the collusion of authorities with criminals and the lack of access to justice are conditions that increase the vulnerability of the population that passes through the country en route to the United States.”

It is estimated that every year some 300,000 Central Americans cross the Mexican border illegally to go to the United States. According to data from human rights organizations, more than 1,600 people in Mexico illegally are kidnapped and assaulted each month in crimes that go unpunished.

“It is too bad that the security and migratory authorities do not duly attend to the problem of the kidnapping of migrants, particularly those coming from Central American countries, actions which are ever more violent and frequent,” noted Sister Leticia Gutiérrez Valderrama, executive secretary of the Mexican bishops’ migration council.

She said authorities do not take the matter as a priority, though the crimes are “a real act of barbarism, as [migrants] are tortured physically and psychologically.”

The nun explained that sexual assault is one of the most frequent crimes against these migrants, though it is not reported because the customary response is deportation.

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