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  HOME | Mexico

Mexico Police Robbed 100 Migrants, Priest Says

IXTEPEC, Mexico – About 100 Central American migrants were accosted and robbed by police in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, a priest and immigrants rights activist said.

After the Saturday night incident in the municipality of Chahuites, the undocumented migrants were put on buses and transported to a town in Chiapas state on the border with Guatemala, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, who is also director of the Hermanos del Camino migrants shelter, told the press.

The migrants were traveling in a freight train along the route from Arriaga, Chiapas, to Veracruz when they were intercepted, assaulted and subjected to abuse by the Mexican police.

INM immigration agency officials came to the site and were the ones who put most of the immigrants aboard buses and took them to the border with Guatemala.

The priest learned of the incident thanks to the fact that eight of the undocumented people managed to escape the busing operation and made it to the Hermanos del Camino facility in Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca.

The center is located on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a zone through which tens of thousands of Central American immigrants pass every year on their way north.

“It’s not the first time that police have been involved in an assault on (our) migrant brothers,” Solalinde said, noting that his many complaints to authorities about such abuses have been ignored.

He added that this new case has already become known to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission, which sent personnel to interview the victims at the INM detention center in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Last week, the Mexican Senate approved a measure according to which any Mexican public servant will be obligated to handle foreigners without any requirement to inform the INM.

With this modification, which comes after late last month 72 immigrants were massacred in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, authorities are attempting to avoid human rights abuses against undocumented people.

Public servants “will be punished with up to removal from office when they commit acts or omissions that violate the human rights of people subject to these modifications,” says the new legal text, which still requires President Felipe Calderon’s signature.

In a related development, the human rights commission announced Sunday the signing of an agreement with the International Organization for Migration, a U.N. agency, aimed at “avoiding the repetition of acts like the massacre of 72 immigrants that occurred in Tamaulipas.”

Mexico “must have really effective mechanisms of evaluation and monitoring with the aim of fulfilling the constitutional and international commitment to protect and defend human rights,” commission chairman Raul Plascencia said in a statement. EFE

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