Central American migrants in the crosshairs
April 13, 2018

A report about a 200-migrant caravan from Central America traveling through Mexico to the US seeking asylum made President Donald Trump send the National Guard to “protect” the US-Mexico border. But what is the reality behind the headlines?

President Trump wanted to blame Mexico for not stopping migration crossing through the country, but the reality is that migration is a shared problem between Mexico, the US and the rest of Latin America, considering that migrants are leaving their homes because of terrible conditions in their home countries.

Migrants need protection all around the world, a fact which became all too clear in August 2010 when 72 migrants from Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Brazil and India were assassinated by the Zetas cartel in Tamaulipas, in the north of Mexico, during the worst days of the war against drug cartels.


But even the Mexican authorities have failed to deal with the migration problem. Several human rights violations at the southern border of Mexico have been denounced by local NGO’s. The former Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, during his visit to Mexico in 2014, addressed the evidence to affirm that migrants in Mexico were being tortured by the Mexican authorities.

Migration is not the only human rights problem in Mexico. Gender equality is another one that recently has been exposed before the CEDAW Committee.

During 2018, Mexico will be examined again by the CEDAW Committe, and the official response of Mexico has not been the best. According to the shadow report recently published by the Mexican feminist organization EQUIS Justicia para Mujeres, the Mexican judiciary has been spending millions of pesos per year to train judges and clerks on human rights and gender issues, but there are no evidence of the results of this trainings. Sentences issued by the judiciary are not following the gender perspective and in several cases do not follow human rights standards.


Mexican NGO’s are fighting against the abuses of the government, including taking the defense of human dignity to international organizations. Traveling to Mexico, not only to visit the touristic beauties of such amazing country, but also to know the work and struggles of the local civil organizations and spreading the word about of it, is part of a new wave of innovative and collaborative advocacy for human rights. Not just travel for leisure, but #TravelForJustice!

Adalberto Méndez López is the Justice Travel Country Representative for México. Follow him on Twitter @ADALSAMMA 


Want to learn more? Explore Justice Travel programs in México