In Mexico the number of refugees has risen significantly due to the humanitarian and security crises in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela. According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), during 2017 the number of refugees rose by 578%, and the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) recognised that there is a total of 14,594 people requesting refuge in Mexico.
The COMAR is over saturated and has not attended close to 60% of the requests, with the argument that their offices remain in bad condition from the earthquake in September of 2017, despite the fact that the Law for Refugees, Complementary Protection and Political Asylum indicates that the requests should be processed within 45 days.
In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is collaborating with various refuges in the South of the country and with the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo (CMS) in Coahila, to help extend spaces and attend the growing number of refugees. In the framework of this collaboration, the building of a new refuge for refugee men, women and families in the installations of the CMS began on 5th February, and should finish at the end of June or the beginning of July.
Despite this positive development, the work of the CMS continues to come up against big challenges, due to the the fact that the National Migration Institute (INM) and the COMAR have not guaranteed the rights of the refugee population and have not complied with their international commitments to protect the life and integrity of people who have been forced from their countries of origin.
As part of the accompaniment PBI offers to the CMS, the Northern Team travelled to Saltillo in order to meet with the members of the organisation and discuss the recent issues they have dealt with over the recent months. Appart from the difficulties with the INM and COMAR, the CMS has been victim of threats, extortion phone calls, false information in the press and difficulties in organising meetings with the municipal authorities.
Given the high levels of risk that the people working for the CMS are experiencing and the importance of the work they carry out with migrants and refugees in Mexico, during this trip PBI confirmed it´s commitment to accompany the CMS throughout the following two years.