Mexico: Refuge for migrants under attack
A soup kitchen for Mexican and Central American migrants has been vandalized in the northern Mexican city of Nogales, on the US border. Staff members had previously reported receiving death threats and having electronics stolen. The attacks could be a reprisal for their complaints of kidnappings against migrants in the area. The lives of staff and volunteers, as well as the migrants who use the soup kitchen, could be at risk.
The soup kitchen is run by the non-governmental organization Kino Border Initiative (Iniciativa Kino para la Frontera) in Nogales city, Sonora state. Staff told Amnesty International that assailants broke into the kitchen in the night of 14 September and vandalized it, damaged furniture and destroyed food provisions and medicines. On 15 September at noon, moments after filing a complaint with local police, a staff member found that her laptop, hard drive and mobile phone had just been stolen from her car. At 10:50am on 27 August another staff member received a death threat from an unidentified male by phone. Staff members have reported the attacks to the authorities, but to date they have not received any effective protection.
Staff members and volunteers of the Kino Border Initiative also support migrants who have been victims of serious crimes, such as kidnappings. So far this year they have accompanied 10 migrants to file complaints for six kidnappings in the Nogales area. They have documented several other cases, but the victims have been too scared to file complaints.
The Kino Border Initiative, led by Jesuit priest Sean Carroll, provides food, medicines, clothing and, in other facilities within Nogales, accommodation for Mexican and Central American migrants who attempt to cross into the USA. They also support Mexicans who have been deported from the USA. Many of the migrants they support are fleeing violence. Shelter staff and volunteers give them information about asylum procedures in the USA.
Please write immediately in Spanish or English:
- Urging the authorities to implement immediate and effective measures to guarantee the safety and integrity of all staff, volunteers and migrants at the Kino Border Initiative soup kitchen and shelter, in accordance with their wishes;
- Calling on the authorities to carry out a full, impartial and independent investigation into the attacks against the human rights defenders and migrants.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 NOVEMBER 2016 TO: