Make Mexico Safe: Take Mexico off Safe-Country List and Restore Justice for Mexican Human-Rights Defenders
Most people think of Mexico as a fun tourist destination full of sunny beaches and colourful colonial towns. Current Canadian policy seems to adhere to this vision, treating Mexico as a privileged trading partner, one of a list of safe “Designated Countries of Origin” whose citizens have reduced possibilities to seek asylum in Canada.
But as local and international human-rights organizations like Amnesty International have reported for decades, Mexico is a country in which non-violent political organizers are frequently imprisoned, tortured, kidnapped or killed by paramilitaries often linked to corrupt government officials. On September 26, 2014, the criminality of elements of the Mexican state was revealed in a particularly horrifying event when local police forces attacked a group of students from the teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, killing 6 people and “disappearing” 43 others.
The Make Mexico Safe Campaign aims to challenge the silencing of this reality and push both the Mexican and Canadian governments to face these injustices and restore justice. Sign the petition today and join us in the many activities we’ve programmed!
- Member of Parliament Calgary Southwest
- Leader, Conservative Party of Canada / Chef, Parti Conservateur du Canada
- President of Mexico
Enrique Peña Nieto
- Canadian Prime Minister
- Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
- President of Mexico's Human Rights Commission
Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
- Mexico's Minister of the Interior
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
- Mexico's Attorney General
Jesus Murillo Karam
Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister
Chris Alexander, Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico
Jesús Murillo Karam, Mexico's Attorney General
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Minister of the Interior
Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, President of Mexico's Human Rights Commission
In 2012, the Canadian government of Stephen Harper placed Mexico on a list of “Designated Countries of Origin,” or supposedly “safe” countries, whose citizens have reduced possibilities to seek asylum in Canada.
Respected human-rights organizations like Amnesty International report that in Mexico non-violent political organizers are frequently imprisoned, tortured, or kidnapped and secretly killed. Furthermore, death threats against human-rights defenders by paramilitary groups with suspected ties to state agencies are not usually investigated; even paramilitary killings receive at best cursory attention from the Mexican justice system. On September 26, 2014, the criminality of elements of the Mexican state was revealed in a particularly horrifying event when local police forces attacked a group of students from the teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, killing 6 people and “disappearing” 43 others who are now presumed dead.
The fates of four human-rights defenders from the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca – victims of death threats, torture, arbitrary detention, and disappearance – highlight the absence of elementary guarantees of rights and justice more routinely faced by thousands of peaceful political organizers in Mexico today: Pablo López Alavez, who has spent the last three and a half years in jail on trumped-up charges and is still waiting for the conclusion of his trial; Carlos René Román Salazar, who, after receiving multiple death-threats, was disappeared in 2011; Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza, who is currently under threat from paramilitary groups with suspected ties to Mexico’s governing party; and Raúl Gatica Bautista, who has lived in Canadian exile since 2005 after suffering decades of abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and assassination attempts. Carlos René, Pablo, Rodrigo, and Raúl share the fates of thousands of Mexican citizens who have been assassinated, arrested, or forced to leave their homes as a result of their peaceful political activities.
I therefore demand that you, Stephen Harper and Chris Alexander:
1. Remove Mexico from the list of safe countries, or “Designated Countries of Origin,” and to offer Mexican refugee seekers the fullest consideration under Canadian asylum law.
2. Put pressure on the Mexican government to allow an international, fully independent investigation into the heinous crimes against students from Ayotzinapa exercising their democratic right to free speech, and to fulfil the protective measures issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the students' parents and schoolmates.
3. Ask the Mexican government to guarantee the safety to ALL of its citizens, regardless of their political engagements.
I also demand that you, Enrique Peña Nieto, Jesús Murillo Karam, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, and Raúl Plascencia Villanueva:
1. Allow a full, international and independent investigation into the murders and disappearances of the students in Ayotzinapa, and make good on the protective measures issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the students' parents and schoolmates.
2. Meet the call, issued by Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty during a February 2014 visit to Mexico, to “take urgent and concrete steps to ensure full respect for human rights for every individual in the country,” particularly focusing on “the large number of disappearances, abuses against migrants and refugees, attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, and violence faced by women and indigenous peoples.”
And for the cases in Oaxaca:
1. Launch a full investigation into the disappearance of Carlos René Román Salazar, and into the roles that state agents may have played in that disappearance.
2. Free Pablo López Alavez.
3. Protect Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and start criminal investigations against those who threaten his life.
4. Guarantee the security of Raúl Gatica Bautista upon his return to Mexico.
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