Migrants in Mexico: Violence against women and children in Oaxaca and Chiapas

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A report published in mid-October warns about the intensification of terrible violence and kidnappings in Mexico.

The increase in families on the route that connects the southern coast with central Mexico has triggered a new humanitarian emergency. This alarming situation is exacerbated by the high exposure to robberies, violence and constant discrimination, also by the authorities, in an inhumane strategy that wears out and leaves severe consequences on the health of migrants.

Between Arriaga, Chiapas, and Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, there is a distance of 150 kilometers. By bus it would take a little more than two hours, but walking it is about 32, under an inclement sun and a wind so strong that it threatens to knock down the people, who are already walking from the border with Guatemala.

Last week a car ran over a girl on this same avenue that borders the Pacific coast, for a year now the busiest route for those crossing the border between Guatemala and Mexico. At the beginning of October, at kilometer 88 of the Oaxaca-Cuacnopala highway, a bus overturned and 18 migrants died (two women, three minors and 13 men). A second accident happened in this same area, when a cargo truck overturned. Ten migrants died and another 25 were injured.

These families, made up of various nationalities, try to carry what they need in their suitcases. Along the way they leave some belongings due to the weight. They sacrifice their sleeping mats, mats or clothing to be able to lift their little ones with improvised carriers or by carrying them on their shoulders. At some points they ask for money and at others they hide for fear of suffering a new detention, extortion, robbery, rape or abuse.

María Elena, a Venezuelan mother who comes with her family, reports that she suffered attacks, like others, also from authorities. “The worst thing we have been through – she says – is with immigration. On October 27, they caught us trying to get on the train, in Huehuetoca, State of Mexico. We ran into the cornfield, but they caught up with us. With a pipe, one of them tried to hit my husband. “They have taken everything from us.”

Stories about migrants in southern Mexico

A report published in mid-October warns about the intensification of terrible violence and kidnappings in Mexico. “Forcing people fleeing persecution to remain in Mexico in inhumane conditions for months, struggling to get a response through CBP One (an app used to obtain an entry appointment into the United States), while being subjected to kidnappings and abuses, is illegal and immoral. No one is spared from these horrific damages: pregnant women and families with babies have fallen prey to reports of torture and sexual violence inflicted on those kidnapped. The asylum ban subverts the protection of refugees, inflicts trauma and causes irreparable harm,” the organization Human Rights First states in this report.

The consequences of repeated violence worsen physical and mental conditions

For two and a half months, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has treated more than 4,000 people who arrive devastated at the mobile clinics, located near the main square of Arriaga, where they sleep under the open sky, and in a bus terminal. of Juchitán, temporarily converted into a migratory mobility center, where garbage bags accumulate next to the unmaintained bathrooms.

There, about 4,000 and 5,000 people gather every day in search of shelter or a ticket that will take them to Mexico City. The majority are Haitians and Venezuelans, since they are the only nationalities to whom private companies sell tickets, charging more than usual. The others must achieve it irregularly. It is a business that profits from the needs of migrants.

This route through the southeast was activated last year, when Mexico concentrated the wait and delivery of safe passage in San Pedro Tapanatepec, Oaxaca, without being prepared to receive these migrant populations, as it did not have shelters or sufficient medical care services, especially for pregnant women and minors who already come in very poor condition. In recent months, there has been an increase in people who have suffered sexual violence. Between September and November, MSF has attended to 145 cases at the Arriaga and Juchitán care points. Some report happen just after crossing the border with Guatemala.

“Around 50 percent of the population are women and of those, 20 percent are pregnant, with risks assumed due to lack of prenatal control, sudden changes in climate, without decent conditions to rest or eat.

The same thing happens with girls and boys, from 0 to 5 years old, who have their development affected because they suffer from malnutrition.

Source: El Financiero