Migrants in Mexico face 'human rights crisis': Amnesty
Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Mexico to take urgent action to halt the abuse of Central American migrants, warning the situation had escalated into a "human rights crisis."
A new report by the rights group -- "Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico" -- documents the abuse faced by the migrants as they attempt to reach the United States illegally by passing through Mexico.
They faced kidnapping, rape and murder -- sometimes with the aid of public officials -- and an estimated 60 percent of migrant women and girls experienced sexual violence, warned the rights group.
"The Mexican authorities must act to halt the continuing abuse of migrants who are preyed on by criminal gangs," Amnesty urged.
The failure of authorities meant the journey through Mexico had now become "one of the most dangerous in the world," said the group.
"Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice," said Rupert Knox, Mexico researcher at Amnesty.
"Persistent failure by the authorities to tackle abuses carried out against irregular migrants has made their journey through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world."
Kidnappings of migrants, mainly for ransom, reached new heights in 2009. The National Human Rights Commission reported that nearly 10,000 were abducted over six months, said Amnesty.
Almost half interviewed said public officials were involved in their abduction, added the rights group.
Amnesty made a series of recommendations to address the issue, which included: legal reforms to ensure access to justice; the establishment of a federal task force to coordinate measures.
© 2010 AFP