Thousands of migrants from throughout Central America have joined the caravan that originated in Honduras, which is currently resuming its advance towards the U.S after initially being violently repressed at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala by Mexican authorities. The Trump administration has targeted this mobilization with threats to close the U.S-Mexico border. The caravan is the latest in a series of similar initiatives (including faith-based initiatives emulating the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week) that date back over a decade, reflecting the persistent crisis of forced migration that is intensifying throughout the region. This has included efforts to intimidate illegitimate régimes in Guatemala and Honduras to join Mexico in repressing and containing these flows, without any commensurate efforts to address their root causes. As a result each of these states must now be held responsible and accountable for their complicity in serious transnational human rights crimes related to the efforts to repress and intimidate the caravan, and as to its structural origins.
None of this can be understood without reference to the lingering effects of the devastation wrought by intertwined U.S interventions in the 1980’s and as recently as the U.S-backed coup in Honduras in 2009. Key guiding threads here include the regional impact of “free trade” (through CAFTA and NAFTA), related mega-development projects, and the so-called “drug war” as reflected in the Mérida Initiative and Southern Border Plan. All of these together have converged in an ongoing war against Mexico and Central America’s poorest, most marginalized communities with concentrated effects among indigenous peoples, those of African descent, and women and children.
These policies have made dignified lives impossible under these conditions of structural violence. These are the sectors that are exercising their internationally recognized rights to free association, expression, protest, freedom of movement, and ultimately their rights to a dignified life, through the caravan and those who accompany it. The Mexican government has the obligation to immediately cease any further acts of repression or intimidation against the caravan, and to insure the safety of its participants and their access as needed to refuge, asylum, and other forms of international protection. At the same time no “safe third country” agreement between the U.S and Mexico is valid, and caravan participants must be permitted to seek protection at the U.S-Mexico border if they wish to do so.
The caravan is thus also a crucial expression of its participants’ rights to seek refuge, asylum, sanctuary, and humanitarian assistance within an overall framework of hospitality and solidarity. Access to refugee status and asylum is severely restricted in Mexico and has been seriously eroded at the U.S-Mexico border, where those seeking protection are routinely deterred from doing so by “push-back” policies at ports of entry, and punished for seeking asylum through indefinite detention without legal representation or bond, as well as the forced separation and detention of families and unjust detention of migrant youth (see: https://www.hopeborder.org/sealing-the-border; and https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr51/9101/2018/en/; https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/new-legal-filing-links-high-level-trump-officials-asylum-turnback).
YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS CARAVAN NOW BY:
- Demanding that your congressional representatives speak out in support of the caravan and against any retaliatory measures at the U.S-Mexico border: no more militarization of the border, nor criminalization of migrants or asylum seekers or family separation or detention!
- Joining us in Mexico City Nov. 2d and 3rd at the hearings of the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement at the Casa de los Amigos (Ignacio Mariscal 132, Col. Tabacalera, 2 blocks from Metro Revolución), being organized with the support of the NLG within the framework of the VIII World Social Forum on Migration, and which will include the case of the caravan, or by donating online to support these hearings at: https://www.tribunalofconscience.international/#, or at the donation link available at: hopeborder.org, designating the tribunal as the intended recipient)
- Sending messages to the Mexican consulate or embassy closest to you demanding that the Mexican government desist from further repression against the caravan and that it instead fully protect the caravan’s right to freedom of movement in safety through Mexican territory
Please contact Camilo Pérez-Bustillo for further information, at Hope Border Institute/Instituto Fronterizo Esperanza in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez: firstname.lastname@example.org, cell 937 951 5911