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Mexico migrants face human rights crisis, says Amnesty

Central American migrants run to catch the train in Veracruz, Mexico (Copyright: Ricardo Ramirez Arriola)
Migrants face a perilous journey

Migrants in Mexico are facing a "major human rights crisis" as the authorities fail to tackle widespread abuses, Amnesty International has warned.

The human rights group said officials ignored or even played a part in the rape, kidnap, and murder of migrants, often carried out by criminal gangs.

Tens of thousands of Central American migrants pass through Mexico every year to try to reach the US and find work.

Mexico has often stated its commitment to the protection of migrants.

Amnesty called on Mexico's government to "prevent, punish and remedy abuses".

"Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses," said Rupert Knox, who contributed to the report, Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move.

"Persistent failure by the authorities to tackle abuses carried out against irregular migrants has made their journey through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world," he added.

Amnesty's report may not come as a surprise to those who have made or tried to make the difficult journey through Mexico, the BBC's Julian Miglierini reports from Mexico City.

But its release comes just after the Mexican government denounced a new tough immigration law in Arizona as a human rights violation.

Many here think that, when it comes to migration issues, Mexico first has to clean up its own act, our correspondent says.

Sexual violence

Amnesty cited statistics from the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, which showed that nearly 10,000 migrants had been abducted, mainly for ransom, over a period of six months in 2009.

Grupo Beta workers (Copyright: Ricardo Ramirez Arriola)
Grupo Beta offers help to migrants

It said that almost half of those interviewed said public officials had played a direct role in their kidnap.

The report also said that an estimated six out of 10 migrant women and girls have experienced sexual violence at the hands of criminals, other migrants or corrupt public officials.

Amnesty has called on the Mexican authorities to set up a federal task force to protect migrants' rights, and to bring those responsible for abuses to justice.

Grupo Beta, a government initiative started in 1991, operates in northern and southern border states, offering advice and humanitarian aid to migrants.

However, it lacks the necessary funding and authority to adequately support the constant stream of migrants heading north, according to Amnesty.

The majority of migrants are from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

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SEE ALSO
Mexicans warned over Arizona law
27 Apr 10 |  Americas
Mexico blasts Arizona migrant law
26 Apr 10 |  Americas
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17 Mar 10 |  Americas
The migrant trail through Mexico
09 Jul 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
04 Sep 12 |  Country profiles

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
MSNBC NYT: For migrants, new law is just another challenge - 5 hrs ago
Houston Chronicle Activists: 6 out of 10 migrant women raped in Mexico - 7 hrs ago
Inter Press Service Mexico, Journey of Terror for Central American Migrants - 9 hrs ago
Washington PostMexico acknowledges migrant abuse, pledges changes - 9 hrs ago
Christian Science Monitor Mexicans slam Arizona immigration law, but how do they treat their migrants? - 15 hrs ago
* May require registration

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
MSNBC NYT: For migrants, new law is just another challenge - 5 hrs ago
Houston Chronicle Activists: 6 out of 10 migrant women raped in Mexico - 7 hrs ago
Inter Press Service Mexico, Journey of Terror for Central American Migrants - 9 hrs ago
Washington PostMexico acknowledges migrant abuse, pledges changes - 9 hrs ago
Christian Science Monitor Mexicans slam Arizona immigration law, but how do they treat their migrants? - 15 hrs ago
* May require registration

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
MSNBC NYT: For migrants, new law is just another challenge - 5 hrs ago
Houston Chronicle Activists: 6 out of 10 migrant women raped in Mexico - 7 hrs ago
Inter Press Service Mexico, Journey of Terror for Central American Migrants - 9 hrs ago
Washington PostMexico acknowledges migrant abuse, pledges changes - 9 hrs ago
Christian Science Monitor Mexicans slam Arizona immigration law, but how do they treat their migrants? - 15 hrs ago
* May require registration


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