November 5th, Tenosique, Tabasco. México.
Migration National Institute opens a criminal case against Fray Tomás González, migrant human rights defender in México.
On November 5th at the Federal Prosecutor Office (PGR) located in the delegation of the PGR in Tenosique, Tabasco, the human rights defender, Fray Tomas Gonzalez Castillo, gave his statement related to the criminal investigation number: PGR/TAB/TEN/460/D/2014 in which he is charged by a migration officer for criminal injuries.
Santiago Rodríguez Castro responsible in Tenosique of the Delegation of the National Migration Institute (INM), presented before PGR a formal denounce of Marvin Agustin Tapia Nava, migration officer that says that on September 29th. he; “kindly approached Fray Tomás González who was in the cabin of his truck. Both shook their hands but Fray Tomás did not release the officer’s hand. He drove his truck for more than 100 meters, dragged and causing him serious injuries”.
This implausible and false report, is part of an alarming increase of INM harassment, persecution and criminalization of migrants, and of those like in the, “La 72 Shelter for Migrants”, defend their rights. These attacks began in 2011 with the foundation of the shelter. Today they come to the extreme of using the criminal system against the director of the shelter, criminalizing the defense of human rights.
For 10 years it`s well documented the systematic involvement of the INM agents in criminal acts, among others, extortion, theft, damage and other crimes committed to migrants. These criminal actions have seriously jeopardized their lives and the safety of migrants in transit thru Mexico. In 2014 they clearly intensified the criminalization in the context of the “South Border Plan” implemented by the federal government,
Since 2013 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights adopted precautionary measures (MC 273 11), that mandate Mexico, federal and local government, to protect the live, integrity and the important role as human rights defenders, of Tomas Gonzalez Castillo and the defenders in La 72. In that year the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, adopted several measures related to the security and protection of the defenders.
Recently, in the course of the hearings in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, organizations of human rights, denounced several governments including Mexico, for using the criminal system against defenders. The IACHR call the governments to respect their commitments
Below is an account of acts of aggression by the authorities against La 72 in 2014:
- January 29. The Federal Police responsible for the custody of the La 72 mandated by the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists stopped, assaulted and threatened to kill two migrants staying at La 72. These facts where denounced before PGR. AP PGR/TAB/TEN/69/D/2014
- April 10. INM agents kidnap two migrants who had been in the La 72. After psychologically torturing and stealing tree thousand pesos, they released them. No complaint has been filed; but once made public the fact, a statement by immigration authorities accepted the aggressions and said that everything would punish the responsible agents. At this day no one have been punished
- April 30. After monitoring a convoy of migrants who left Tenosique The La 72 team witnessed the violent armed operation for more than 150 people from the following corporations: the Mexican Army, INM, Federal Police, State Police, Municipal Police Emiliano Zapata and Tenosique Beta Group. They were arrested more than 300 people, beaten and verbally assaulted; The defenders Ruben Figueroa, Tomás González and Aurelio were injured.
- August 13, 2014. INM, Federal Police and State Police took actions to block migrants to ride in the train they normally use to go up north. These joint action and the following have in common an extreme verbal and physical violen
- August 14, 2014. The Beta Group participates in a spectacular operation that involves federal immigration agents, federal and state police. Realizing the coordinator of the group who were filming, harasses, intimidates and tries to obstruct the work of documentation. We have to insist that the Beta Group mandate by law is to give humanitarian assistance to migrants
Therefore we call upon the authorities:
- That such inquiry is concluded immediately and to open an investigation for the probable commission of the crimes of perjury before the ministerial authority and abuse of authority
- A federal officials Protection Mechanism complying precautionary measures by the IACHR and beyond speeches, enforce the measures issued its own Board of Governors.
Finally vigorously denounced that in the context in the country, national and international civil society will not tolerate aggression of any kind of people dedicated to defend human rights.
La 72, Hogar – Refugio para Personas Migrantes