The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) accused the National Migration Institute (INM) on Tuesday of excessive and disproportionate use of force against the migrant caravan that passed through Chiapas on August 28. Recommendation 102/2021, addressed to Commissioner Francisco Garduño Yáñez, states that his staff committed “violations of human rights, integrity, personal safety and the principle of the best interests of children, to the detriment of different people.” This is the first time that the agency has made a statement about attacks on immigration operations in Mexico.
After receiving several complaints and gathering evidence, the CNDH has verified that several migrants were attacked by INM personnel during the actions carried out to contain the movement of the caravan along federal highway 200, between the municipalities of Huehuetán and Tuzantán. “Clearly identified public servants have repeatedly exceeded the use of force,” the recommendation states. “Said proceeding undoubtedly caused injuries, in addition to failing to give aid to those who needed it.”
On August 28, hundreds of Haitians, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans decided to leave the Tapachula immigration station together, tired of waiting for a response to their asylum applications. By punching, kicking and shoving, INM agents tried to arrest them, the document states. “In the attempt to contain the caravan, there were attacks against multiple people in the context of mobility, including children, which led to their dispersal,” he says. “People were attacked, subjected, beaten with shields and batons; The carrying of long weapons was identified by elements of the army, elements of the INM dressed in civilian clothes inciting the aggression, as well as other unidentified security agents, civilian clothes and carrying firearms ”.
The CNDH assures that it has obtained sufficient evidence to establish that the actions of the immigration agents were contrary to the principles established in various laws, such as the National Law on the Use of Force. In addition, the agency has highlighted that the agency headed by Francisco Garduño Yáñez refused to respond to the requests for information that were addressed to it, “which denotes a clear disinterest in the investigative work carried out by this agency and leads to non-observance of obligations constitutional laws established for all authorities ”.
As recommendations, the CNDH has asked the INM to trace whether the aggrieved persons are still in the country to provide them with comprehensive reparation for the damage caused, which includes “fair and sufficient compensation from the corresponding registration in the National Registry of Victims ”. Likewise, it has asked that an action protocol be designed “that considers the principles of absolute necessity, legality, prevention, proportionality, accountability and vigilance that govern the use of force in accordance with the General Law on the matter, as well as the manuals of techniques for the use of force and the description of the conducts to be carried out by the agents ”.
It has also urged the INM to cooperate extensively with the investigating authority in the presentation and follow-up of the complaint that the CNDH presents to the internal migration control body. In addition to the design and delivery of a comprehensive course to federal agents attached to the Representation of the INM in Chiapas on training and education in matters of human rights, legal security and legality, integrity and personal safety and the best interests of the childhood.
Although the clashes have not stopped occurring, this is the first recommendation that the CNDH issues for the abuses committed by migrant personnel during the caravans. However, the INM had already been singled out by the commission due to overcrowding and the conditions in which foreigners live in migration centers.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.