N° 86/10



Washington, D.C., August 27, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deepest concern over the killing of immigrants that took place in Mexico, and urges the State to adopt urgent measures to investigate and to bring about justice, as well as to protect migrants in transit through the country and to ensure respect for their human rights.

According to information the State has made public, the bodies of 72 murder victims were found on August 24, 2010, during an operation carried out by naval personnel in the state of Tamaulipas. The authorities reported that those killed were apparently undocumented migrants of various nationalities who were in transit through Mexico. According to that country's National Security Council, in recent months criminal organizations have participated in the kidnapping and extortion of undocumented migrants from Central America and South America, and in attempts to forcibly recruit them to join criminal gangs. In addition, the national Attorney General's Office and the Tamaulipas state Attorney General's Office reported having launched preliminary investigations into the facts.

The IACHR urges the State of Mexico to maximize its efforts to investigate these crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators and masterminds. The Inter-American Commission also calls on the State of Mexico to urgently adopt all necessary measures to protect all migrants within its territory and to guarantee absolute respect for their human rights. The Inter-American Commission today sent a letter asking the State for information about what occurred.

The situation of migrants in transit through Mexico is an issue of great concern for the Inter-American Commission. In a public hearing held last March, the IACHR received very serious information regarding the large number of kidnappings, a figure that according to the organizations participating in the hearing was reportedly as high as 18,000 in 2009. In the hearing, it was indicated that these persons are victims of torture and that they are kidnapped for ransom. It was also reported that the majority of those kidnapped are children and women.

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 human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

Useful Links

  • Video and Audio Recording of the Hearing "Human Rights Situation of Migrants in Transit through Mexican Territory", held March 22, 2010 during the 138 Period of Sessions.

  • IACHR website






Read this press release in Spanish / Lea este comunicado de prensa en español


Press contact: María Isabel Rivero
Tel. (202) 458-3867


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