The IACHR and the Regional Office for Central America (OHCHR) Welcome the Return of More Than 300 Nicaraguans to Their Country and Urge States to Continue Cooperating to Ensure Their Safe, Dignified, Voluntary Return

February 12, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted its first virtual working visit to Mexico. The first part of the visit took place from December 16 to 18, 2020, and the second from January 11 to 12, 2021. The objective was to obtain information on the situation of human mobility in the country, particularly as relates to cross-border issues in the country. The IACHR also noted that the State expressed its willingness for an on-site visit to be conducted when health conditions permit.

The virtual working visit was carried out at the express invitation of the Mexican State. The IACHR delegation was led by Commissioner Julissa Mantilla, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, and also included Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, the Country Rapporteur for Mexico and Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child; Soledad García Muñoz, Special Rapporteur for Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights (OSRESCER); María Claudia Pulido, Acting Executive Secretary, and experts from the IACHR Executive Secretariat.

As part of the visit, the IACHR held meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (STPS), the National Migration Institute (INM), the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR), the Unit for Migration Policy, Registration, and Personal Identity (UPMRIP), the National System for the Integral Family Development (SNDIF); the Executive Secretariat of the System for the Integral Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents (SE-SIPINNA), local government representatives, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), state human rights commissions, representatives of the judicial and legislative branches, the Federal Public Defense Institute (IFDP), and Mexican consular authorities at the country's southern and northern borders. It also met with international organizations that work in the country and representatives of civil society organizations.

The IACHR wishes to thank the Mexican government for its invitation and the assistance and logistics support it provided for this virtual working visit. In particular, the IACHR is grateful for the support it received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordinating and facilitating the meetings that were held with the different government institutions. At the same time, the IACHR is grateful for the information provided by the different civil society organizations that took part in the meetings held during the visit.

In response to the information it received during its visit, the IACHR observed that significant progress had been made on the issue of people in movement, such as: (i) implementation of state protection mechanisms, which expressly include protection for people in movement; (ii) adoption of action protocols and roadmaps to assist people in movement, including assistance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; and (iii) the publication of a recent legislative reform that harmonizes the provisions of the Law on Migration, the Law on Refugees, Complementary Protection, and Political Asylum with the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents regarding the prohibition on detaining children and adolescents in movement in Mexico.

However, the IACHR was concerned to receive information relating to: i) difficulties in accessing asylum and protection procedures; ii) the conditions of detention of people in movement, including asylum seekers or those in need of protection; and iii) the insecurity experienced by people in movement in Mexico. The IACHR also observed that extraordinary containment measures in special contexts such as the COVID-19 pandemic have a particularly severe impact on people in movement. On this point, the IACHR warns that contexts such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of this may worsen the circumstances of people in movement and generate new situations of concern around equal access to their rights.

The Preliminary Observations (In Spanish) to the virtual working visit to Mexico analyze: i) the context of human mobility in Mexico; ii) specific circumstances that build on a territorial approach at Mexico's southern and northern borders; iii) the protection of migrants, refugees, and beneficiaries of complementary protection measures; iv) the deprivation of freedom of people in movement in Mexico; v) a differentiated, intersectional approach concerning groups at particular risk; and vi) the restrictions faced by this population regarding access to economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights. It also takes a cross-cutting approach to situations that have become particularly concern as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 033/21