Between Calderon's Rhetoric and Border Reality

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on November 12, 2010

A column in today's Reforma newspaper highlights the troubling gap between Mexico's rhetorical commitment to the human rights of migrants and the abuses suffered by Central American migrants within Mexico. The column in the Mexico City daily is authored by Navi Pillay, United Nations high commissioner for human rights.

Pillay cites a recent statement by Mexican President Felipe Calderon that, "We don't want to do to the migrants who come to Mexico, whatever their legal status, that which we don't want to be done to our migrants in the United States."

But Pillay notes that Mexico's southern and northern border regions "are considered to be among the most dangerous frontiers in the world, territories without law, where impunity abounds and the weak succumb in silence and anonymity."

Citing reports from Mexico's own human rights commission and from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Pillay writes that many migrants have been "victims of kidnapping, extortion, torture, disappearance and death." She notes the August murder of 72 migrants from Central and South America in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. And she writes that "countless women are exposed to sexual violence or forced to be part of sexual commerce."