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AHRC Statement on Ciudad Juárez Tragedy Causing 68 Migrants Deaths

By Melanie Nathan, March 28, 2023

African Human Rights Coalition is incensed that a fire occurred yesterday in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and condemns the conditions and policies that contributed to its cause.

Immigration authorities illegally deprived 68 migrants of Colombian, Ecuadorian, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran and Venezuelan nationality of their freedom without review of their immigration status, and now 29 people have been reported as injured and 39 migrants have lost their lives. The U.S. has policies that cause back ups contributing to a milieu that can only lead to tragedy.

We hear that these facts show the actions that Mexican authorities in Ciudad Juárez have repeatedly carried out against the migrant population, including "hunts" and inciting discrimination and xenophobia in the Mexican population, thus violating the human rights guaranteed to all people who enter Mexican territory regardless of their immigration status. These rights are established by the Constitution of Mexico and various international human rights accords.

We must note that through these lost lives the evidenced pain and suffering experienced by people with irregular status, who are forced to leave their countries of origin, homes, and families to become migrants overnight. They are further victimized by governments who are supposed to help them.

Advocated who work with these populations and in the region are demanding that Mexico provide:

  1. Immediate and expeditious psychological, medical and legal assistance to the victims, the latter in order to be informed of the procedures for migratory regularization to which they may have access, as well as the fair compensation for the violation of their human rights;

  2. Immediate return of the remains of the deceased to their countries of origin, as well as comprehensive reparation for the damage caused to their relatives and fair compensation due to the violation of human rights committed by the immigration, municipal and state authorities;

  3. Holistic grief accompaniment facilitated to the relatives of these deceased persons, throughout the process of welcoming them to the country to the transfer of their loved ones;

  4. That the well-being of migrants is safeguarded without resorting to the use of force, taking into account the principles of absolute necessity and proportionality;

  5. Unrestricted respect for the human rights of each and every migrant, regardless of their immigration status;

  6. That an exhaustive investigation of the facts be carried out, assuming due responsibility for the decisions made by the personnel of the National Institute of Migration.

This must also been seen in light of the horrendous US policies that have caused gridlocks and bans, through the hand of Donald Trump, much of which has been continued by the Biden administration, which is now proposing even more limiting asylum hoops that effectively are tantamount to BANS. Our opposition to that new proposed rules have been submitted to the U.S. Government, together with 4,000 other opposing commentaries. AHRC's opposition can be seen here, where we oppose the proposed rules from and African LGBTQI+ perspective. This failed policy is a set up for these types of detentions and general conditions that lead to such tragedy.

African Human rights Coalition joins in the grief of the relatives of the people who died in this tragic event and we reaffirm our commitment to the work we all do for better policy and services that serve to eradicate such tragedies.


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