Doc. 48/13

30 December 2013

Original: Spanish





OAS Cataloging-in-Publication Data
OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc.48/13

Approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on December 30, 2013



José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez

Tracy Robinson

Rosa María Ortiz

Felipe González

Dinah Shelton

Rodrigo Escobar Gil

Rose-Marie Belle Antoine


Executive Secretary:Emilio Álvarez-Icaza L.

Assistant Executive Secretary: Elizabeth Abi-Mershed




A. The scope and objectives of the report

B. Visit to Mexico by the IACHR’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families and its follow-up

C. Structure and methodology

D. Preparation, approval and follow-up of the report

E. The United Mexican States’ observations on the report.

F. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants


A. General observations concerning the migration phenomenon
in Mexico

1. Mexico as a country of origin for migrants

2. Mexico as a country of destination for mixed
migration flows

3. Mexico as a transit country for mixed migration flows

4. Mexico as a country of return for migrants

5. Internal migration within Mexico

6. Internal displacement in Mexico

B. Principal concerns having to do with the discrimination
and violence that migrants and other persons encounter
in the context of human mobility

1. Causes for human migration: the push and pull factors

2. The vulnerability of migrants in an irregular situation
in Mexico

3. The various forms of discrimination and violence that migrants in an irregular situation experience in Mexico

C. The Mexican State’s response to the discrimination and violence against migrants and other persons in the context of human

1.The legislative response

D. International norms and standards that apply to the violence
and discrimination against migrants.

1. The characteristics of the international responsibility
of the State in human rights matters

2. Protection of the migrants’ right to life and their right
to humane treatment

3. The prohibition against trafficking in persons

4. The right of migrant women to a life free of violence
and discrimination.

5. The obligations to respect, ensure and not discrimínate
in the exercise of human rights

1.Obligation to prevent acts that violated migrants’
rights to life, to personal integrity and to liberty,
and the prohibition of slavery, servitude and
trafficking in persons.

2. The obligation to conduct an effective investigation
of the facts, in keeping with articles 8(1) and 25(1)
of the Convention, arising from the obligation
to guarantee with respect to acts that violate
migrants’ rights to life, humane treatment and
personal liberty and the prohibition of slavery,
servitude and trafficking.

3. Duty to adopt domestic legal provisions

E. Conclusions

F. Recommendations


A.General observations

B. Applicable international norms and standards on immigration detention and due process

1. The right to personal liberty and the exceptionality of immigration detention

C.Immigration detention and immigration-related administrative proceedings under Mexican law

D.Principal concerns with regard to immigration detention,
procedural guarantees, detention conditions and deportation proceedings

1.Immigration verification and review operations
and the principle of non-discrimination and the right
to equal protection

2. Immigration detention and the use of alternatives to detention as they pertain to the right to personal

3.Immigration detention of immigrant children and adolescents.

4. The guarantees of due process in the context of
immigration-related administrative proceedings

5. The indefinite duration of immigration detention

6. Right to apply for recognition of refugee status in
relation to the right to the guarantees of due process
and the right to judicial protection

7. Immigration detention conditions

E. Conclusions

F. Recommendations



A.General observations

B.International norms and standards on the subject of
the economic, social and cultural rights of migrant persons

C.Principal concerns regarding immigration proceedings, the right
to nationality and the economic, social and cultural rights
of migrants in Mexico

1. Regularization and access to immigration

2.Recognition of the right to nationality

3.Labor rights

4. Right to education

5. Right to health

D. Recommendations






A. The scope and objectives of the report

  1. Pursuant to Article 41 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 58 of its Rules of Procedure, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Inter-American Commission” or “the IACHR”) is presenting this report to assess the human rights situation of the international and domestic migrants in the context of human mobility in Mexico and to make recommendations to ensure that the migration and immigration policies, laws and practices in the United Mexican States (hereinafter “the Mexican State,” “Mexico” or “the State”) comport with the international human rights obligations it has undertaken to protect migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, victims of human trafficking and the internally displaced persons.
  1. Throughout this report, various situations are described that affect the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, victims of human trafficking and the internally displaced in Mexico. This report’s particular focus is on the serious violence, insecurity and discrimination that migrants in an irregular situation encounter when traveling through Mexico, which includes, inter alia, kidnapping, murder, disappearance, sexual violence, human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants. The report also looks at the issue of immigration detention and due process guarantees for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees held in immigration holding or detention centers. The report will also examine situations that affect the human rights of migrants who live in Mexico, such as their right to nondiscrimination in access to public services and their labor rights. The last part of the report examines the difficult circumstances under which those who defend the rights of migrants perform their mission.
  1. Mexico is today a country of origin, transit and destination for migrants, and increasingly a country to which they return. Mexico is the necessary gateway of mixed migration flows, which include thousands of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of human trafficking which have the United States as their main destination and, to a lesser extent, Canada. Of all the countries in the Americas, Mexico is doubtless the one that most clearly reflects the various faces of international migration in a country. Because of the enormous impact that international migration has had on Mexico, particularly as a country of origin for migrants, globally Mexico has been a principal driving force and advocate for the recognition and protection of the human rights of all migrants.
  1. Furthermore, in recent years, public security in Mexico has been severely eroded by the intense violence generated by organized crime and the battle being waged against it.[2] The spike in criminal violence in recent years in Mexico poses very complex challenges for the State, which is called upon to take every measure necessary to safeguard the security of persons within its jurisdiction, which obviously includes migrants. Security and protective measures have to be premised on respect for human rights to ensure that the actions taken by the State to fight crime do not end up becoming a source of still greater insecurity or even State abuse. Mexico does not have a citizen security and safety policy specifically geared to preventing, protecting and prosecuting crimes committed against migrants. Furthermore, the State’s response to the surge in violence has be to shore up the military and police forces to help them fight crime, mainly drug trafficking. In many instances, the effect of these two factors has been to increase the violence and human rights violations committed by State agents, rather than to safeguard the security of those in Mexico.
  1. While the severe insecurity that Mexico is now experiencing has had profound effects on the Mexican population, it has also revealed just how vulnerable migrants in Mexico are, particularly migrants in an irregular situation[3] in transit through Mexico. In recent years, the Commission has been receiving news and reports of multiple cases in which migrants are abducted, driven into forced labor, murdered, disappeared and, in the case of women, frequently the victims of rape and sexual exploitation by organized crime. The Commission has also received information to the effect that in a considerable number of cases, State agents –members of the various police forces or personnel of the National Institute of Migration- have been directly involved in the commission of the crimes and human rights violations listed above. At the present time, the extreme vulnerability of migrants and other persons to the heightened risks of human mobility in Mexico is one of worse human tragedies in the region, involving large-scale and systematic human rights violations.
  1. The insecurity of migrants in Mexico was why, during the hearing on the “Situation of the Human Rights of Migrants in Transit through Mexico” held on March 22, 2010, civil society organizations asked the IACHR to have its Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families conduct an on-site visit to Mexico to examine the situation of migrants’ human rights. For its part, the Mexican State’s response was that the oversight mechanisms of the inter-American and global systems have an open, standing invitation to visit Mexico, so that the Rapporteurship’s visit would be welcome.[4] The on-site visit was hastened by a series of communications that civil society organizations sent to the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrant Workers, and by thematic hearings held at Commission headquarters[5] which revealed large-scale violations of migrants’ human rights in recent years, the inefficacy of the public safety and security services, and the fact that no one was made to answer for the crimes committed against migrants. The Mexican State formally invited the Rapporteur to conduct an in loco visit, which he did from July 25 to August 2, 2011.

B. Visit to Mexico by the IACHR’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families and its follow-up

  1. Given the multiple effects of the migration phenomenon in Mexico, particularly as a consequence of the grave insecurity and danger that migrants transiting through Mexico experience, an IACHR delegation visited Mexico between July 25 and August 2, 2011.[6] The delegation was composed of Commissioner Felipe González Morales, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families; Santiago Canton, then Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Álvaro Botero Navarro, Attorney Specialist with the Rapporteurship, and María Isabel Rivero, Director of the IACHR’s Press and Outreach Office. This was the second visit by the Rapporteurship on the Rights on Migrant Workers to Mexico. The first was in 2002.[7]
  1. While the episodes of large-scale abductions, extortion, sexual abuse, murders and disappearances of migrants in recent years have exposed the gravity of the human rights violations that migrants in an irregular situation in transit through Mexico experience, because migration in Mexico is a complex phenomenon the Commission decided that, rather than focus exclusively on situations that threaten the lives, integrity and security of migrants in transit in Mexico, other issues of particular concern in the case of migrants needed to be examined, such as human trafficking, the situation of migrant children, immigration detention, the situation of those who defend the rights of migrants, consular assistance, migrants’ access to labor rights and to public services in Mexico, and the situation of the internally displaced persons.
  1. In the course of the visit, the IACHR delegation traveled to 7 cities in 5 federated units: Mexico City in the Federal District; Oaxaca and Ixtepec in the state of Oaxaca; Tapachula in Chiapas state; Tierra Blanca and Veracruz in the state of Veracruz; and Reynosa and San Fernando in the state of Tamaulipas. The seven cities were selected because they would give the Commission’s delegation different angles on the many faces of the migration phenomenon in Mexico. Also, some of these cities were on the main migration routes and were where the incidence of violations of migrants’ human rights was highest, especially kidnapping.[8]
  1. The delegation was able to observe the different dynamics of migration along the southern border with Guatemala and along the northern border with the United States. On Mexico’s southern border, around Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas state, the IACHR delegation observed how, in makeshift vessels, migrants cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexican territory. On Mexico’s northern border, at Reynosa in Tamaulipas state, the IACHR visited one of the border control points between Mexico and the United States. At the end of the visit, a member of the delegation crossed the border into the United States by way of the control points at Ciudad Juárez in the state of Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas.
  1. During the visit, the IACHR delegation was in some of the principal points through which migrants travel, such as Ixtepec in Oaxaca state, Tapachula in Chiapas state, Tierra Blanca in Veracruz and Reynosa in Tamaulipas. In Ixtepec, accompanied by members of the INM’s Beta Group and staff from the Albergue Hermanos en el Camino [“Brothers along the Way” Shelter], the IACHR delegation witnessed the arrival of the train known as “La Bestia” [the Beast], which originates in the municipality of Arriaga in Chiapas state. The train was carrying several hundred migrants, most of whom were men from Central America, although migrant women and children were also to be seen. Upon the train’s arrival in Ixtepec on July 28, 2011, the Commission’s delegation had an opportunity to see how the vast majority of these migrants are received and assisted by volunteers from the Albergue Hermanos en el Camino, who work in the early morning hours to provide help. Initially, the migrants’ names are entered into the shelter’s database,[9] after which they are given food, clothing and a place to sleep. In Tierra Blanca, Veracruz state, the IACHR delegation went to the train tracks, accompanied by members of the Alberge Decanal Guadalupano and the Human Mobility Pastoral Office, where it watched as migrants waited to continue their trip northward heading for Mexico’s border with the United States.
  1. During the visit, the Rapporteurship had meetings with federal, state and municipal officials, civil society organizations, and international organizations with offices in Mexico. In its meetings with state officials, a broad spectrum of actors provided the Rapporteurship with information that has proven to be very useful in preparing this report. The following were among the officials with whom the IACHR met: Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Under Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights with the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter “the SER”); Alejandro Negrín, the SER’s Director General of Human Rights and Democracy; Alejandro Alday, Deputy Director General of Cases, Human Rights and Democracy of the SER; Consuelo de la Salud Olvera, Director of International Policy on Civil and Political Rights of the Office of the SER’s Director General of Human Rights; Joel Hernández García, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS; José Francisco Blake Mora, Secretary of the Interior; René Zenteno Quintero, Under Secretary for Population, Migration and Religious Matters; Felipe de Jesús Zamora Castro, Under Secretary for Legal Affairs and Human Rights; Salvador Beltrán del Río Madrid, Commissioner of the National Institute of Migration; Omeheira López Reyna, Head of the Unit for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights; Katya Somohano, Coordinator of the Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission; Genaro García Luna, Secretary of Public Safety; Monte Alejandro Rubido García, Under Secretary for Prevention and Citizen Participation; Víctor Hugo Pérez Hernández, Director General for Human Rights; Raúl Placencia Villanueva, Chair of the National Human Rights Commission; Fernando Batista Jiménez, Fifth Examiner of the CNDH; Gerardo Montfort Ramírez, Director General of the CNDH’s Migrant Services Program; Luis González Placencia, Chair of the Federal District’s Human Rights Commission (CDHDF); Leonardo Mier Bueno, CDHF Coordinator of Liaison with Human Rights Institutions; José Antonio Guevara, CDHDF Secretary for Liaison with Civil Society Organizations; Fernando Coronado Franco, the CDHDF’s General Consultant; María de los Ángeles Fromow Rangel, Head of the Steering Unit for Liaison and Social Participation; Dr. Gudelia Rangel, Coordinator of the Comprehensive Health Strategy for Migrants; Jorge Alberto Lara Rivera, Deputy Prosecutor for Legal and International Matters; Miguel Ángel González Félix, Coordinator of International Affairs and Attaché Offices; Yéssica de Lamadrid Téllez, Director General of International Cooperation; Pedro Efraín González Aranda, Director General of Preliminary Inquiries with the Office of the Attorney General of Tamaulipas; Marco Antonio Paz Pellat, Under Secretary for Analysis, Planning and Evaluation; Margarita de Lourdes Guerra Guerrero, in charge of the Micro-regions Unit; Blanca Lilia García López, in charge of the Office of the Deputy Director General of International Relations; Jorge Alberto Vargas Rodríguez, in charge of the Office of Statistical Analysis; Mario Chacón Carrillo, Director General of International Relations; Rosalinda Morales Garza, Director General of Indigenous Education; Alina Xóchitl Olvera Rosas, Director of Basic Education; Eleuterio Olarte Tiburcio, Director of Development and Strengthening of Indigenous Languages; Rocío García Gaytán, President of the National Institute of Women; Tuchee Gaona, Deputy Director of Migration and Human Trafficking; Helietta González, Chief of the Department of Migration and Human Trafficking; Laura Liselotte Correa, Director of Human Development; Margarita Zavala, Mexico’s First Lady and President of the National Comprehensive Family Development System (DIF); María Cecilia Landerreche Gómez Morin, Head of the National Comprehensive Child Development System; Joaquín González Casanova, Director of Human Rights, Gender Equality and International Affairs of the Council of the Federal Judiciary; Gabino Cué Monteagudo, Constitutional Governor of the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca; Eréndira Cruzvillegas Fuentes, Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights for the Oaxaca State Government; Jaime Bolaños Cacho Guzmán, Coordinator General of Financial and International Liaison; Rufino Domínguez, Director of the Oaxaca Institute for Migrant Services; Marco Tulio López López, Oaxaca State Attorney; Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, Speaker of the Oaxaca Chamber of Deputies; Pável López Gómez, Chair of the Human Rights Commission of the LXI Oaxaca State Legislature; Alfredo Lagunas Rivera, Chief Judge of the Oaxaca State Superior Court; Guatemala’s Consul in Oaxaca; officials from Beta Group in Ixtepec, Oaxaca; Juan Sabines Guerrero, Constitutional Governor of the State of Chiapas; Isabel Aguilera de Sabines, President of Chiapas State DIF; Blanca Ruth Esponda Espinosa, Coordinator General of the Chiapas State Governor’s Cabinet; Andrea Hernández Fitzner, Secretary for Southern Border Development and Liaison for Chiapas State International Cooperation; Raciel López Salazar, Chiapas State Attorney; Pedro Raúl López Hernández, Advisor to the Commission to Oversee the Human Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas; Carlos Fabre Platas, Chiapas State Under Secretary for Migrant Services; Jorge Vázquez Salazar, Under Secretariat for Chiapas State Liaison for International Cooperation; Enrique Méndez Rojas, Chiapas State Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed against Immigrants; Esther Almazán Torres, Chiapas State Secretary of Labor; James Gómez Montes, Chiapas State Secretary of Health; Javier Álvarez Ramos, Chiapas State Secretary of Education; Gerardo Buganza Salmerón, Veracruz State Secretary of the Interior; Antonio Nemi Dib, Director of the Veracuz State DIF; Karime Macías, President of the Veracruz State DIF; Vito Lozano Vázquez, Vercruz Special Attorney for Migrant Services; Marcelo Montiel Montiel, Secretary of Social Development; Claudia Ramón Perea, Director General de Veracruz Migrant Services; Reynaldo Gaudencio Escobar Pérez, Veracruz State Attorney General; Luis Fernando Perera Escamilla, President of the Veracruz State Human Rights Commission; Jaime Canseco Gómez, Secretary General of Tamaulipas State Government; Bolívar Hernández Garza, Tamaulipas State Attorney General, and others.
  1. The Commission would like to extend special thanks to the Mexican State for all the efforts it made at the federal and state levels to make the visit by the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families possible.