In Mexico, 38 migrants killed in the fire of a detention center

Thirty-eight migrants died and 28 others were injured on Tuesday in a fire at a detention center in Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico, bordering the United States, authorities said.

After announcing the death of 40 migrants a few hours earlier, the National Institute for Migration (INM) indicated in a press release that following a visit to the hospitals where the victims were hospitalized, “the number of deceased has been updated and 38 deaths have been confirmed”.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the United Nations called for easier migration routes “safe” to the United States, and the American ambassador to Mexico insisted on “fixing a broken migration system” with its partners in the region.

According to the President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, it was migrants who lit the fire with mattresses in a movement of “protest” : “We assume that they learned that they were going to be expelled, moved”.

Mexican authorities criticized

"We call on the countries of the region to deal humanely, justly and effectively with the growing flows of people through the Americas"said for his part the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked "full investigation" and got involved “to continue to work with the authorities of the countries” of the region for “to establish safer, more regulated and more organized migration routes”according to his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

"We reiterate our commitment to continue working with the governments of the region and our partners to fix this broken migration system"said US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar. It is also "to tackle the root causes" of migration, a "regional challenge"according to him.

Amnesty International, for its part, pointed “a consequence of the restrictive and cruel migration policies shared by the governments of Mexico and the United States”.

“How is it possible that the Mexican authorities left human beings locked up without any possibility of escaping the fire? »blamed Erika Guevara Rosas, director of the organization for the Americas, in a press release.

This tragedy - and the two previous ones in Texas in June and in southern Mexico in December 2021 - "are a reminder" of the dangers to which migrants are exposed in the face of "people traffickers"he insisted pleading for a migration "legal".

From “identified migrants” there are 28 Guatemalans, 13 Hondurans, 13 Venezuelans, 12 Salvadorans, a Colombian and an Ecuadorian, indicated the general prosecutor's office of Mexico, citing the Institute of Migrations, without making the distinction between dead and wounded.

“We are treated like dogs! »

The fire, unprecedented in facilities for migrants in the country, started shortly before midnight on the night of Monday to Tuesday.

It broke out in a detention center, according to the governor of the state of Chihuahua María Eugenia Campos and the testimony of other migrants.

Distributed by several media, authenticated by the authorities who "deplores" its broadcast, a video showed the start of the fire.

Behind bars, in the smoke, a man kicks against a closed door while another appears to put a mattress on the ground. They then retreat with other individuals.

In the foreground, on the other side of the cell, three officers, two of whom are in uniform, retire offscreen with their backs to them, without giving them assistance.

In the previous days, local authorities in Juarez had raised their voices against the migrants, urging them to stop offering their informal services on the streets.

Viangly, a Venezuelan, says her 27-year-old husband was taken away after he was arrested in a roundup when she says he has Mexican papers.

The young woman screams in despair as she tries to look inside an ambulance, complaining that center officials "don't say anything". “We are human too, we have feelings, we are treated like dogs”.

Stopover city before the United States

Ciudad Juarez, neighboring El Paso (Texas), is one of the border towns from which many undocumented migrants seek to reach the United States to seek asylum after a long journey.

Since 2014, around 7,661 migrants have died or gone missing en route to the United States, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

US President Joe Biden took new restrictive measures in February, forcing migrants to apply in transit countries or online.

The measures also provide for more frequent recourse by the United States to immediate expulsions, accompanied by a ban on new entry into the territory for five years.

Source : Nouvelobs

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