Condemning migrant killings in Mexico, UN rights chief calls for urgent action

27 August 2010

The United Nations human rights chief today strongly condemned the killing of 72 migrants in northern Mexico and called on the authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

The Mexican Navy discovered a site on 24 August that contained 72 corpses, including 14 women, who had apparently been executed by members of organized crime.

The victims were reported to be undocumented migrants from Central and South America, according to a news release from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“I am deeply shocked about these killings, which highlight the critical situation of migrants in the country,” said High Commissioner Navi Pillay.

She called on the authorities “to conduct as a matter of urgency a thorough, transparent and independent investigation into these killings, and to preserve the dignity of the victims by ensuring their identification and return to their families.”

The High Commissioner also urged them to prosecute and punish those responsible and adopt preventive measures.

“Ensuring that there is no impunity is crucial to avoid a repetition of such a heinous crime,” she stated.

An estimated 400,000 migrants transit through Mexico each year, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, who added that most of them are victims of trafficking by transnational gang networks also involved in smuggling and drugs.

Ms. Pillay called on the authorities to take all necessary steps to protect the life and integrity of migrants, particularly women and children, in line with Mexico’s international obligations.

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