On Jan. 21 United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay called on the Mexican government to determine whether there was complicity by the military, the police or other officials in the mass kidnapping of some 40 Central American immigrants by an armed gang in the southern state of Oaxaca on Dec. 16. The incident, which brought protests from Mexican human rights activists, took place as some 250 immigrants were riding on a freight train operated by Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuántepec, a company owned by the federal government. Mexican police, soldiers and immigration officers detained some of the immigrants but let the rest proceed. The train operator then tried to extort money from the immigrants but wasn’t satisfied with the amount they offered. A short while later, an armed group entered the train, robbed and beat the immigrants, and abducted about 40. The whereabouts of the victims are still unknown. (New York Times, Jan. 22)
With an increase in news stories about the mistreatment, kidnapping and murder of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico, the Mexican government has been working to improve relations with Central American governments on immigration issues. Mexican and Honduran officials held their first high-level meeting on immigration on Jan. 22 in Mexico City. The two governments agreed to carry out a joint campaign to warn undocumented immigrants about the dangers they might encounter and to advise them on their rights and obligations and where they can file legal complaints or seek assistance. (La Jornada, Mexico, Jan. 23)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 23.
See our last post on Mexico.