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Mexico government must act now to end kidnapping and killings of migrants

Amnesty International is gravely concerned at the mass killing of 72 irregular migrants near Mexico's northern border in Tamaulipas state, apparently by members of the drug trafficking gang, the Zetas. Latest reports suggest the victims who had been kidnapped by the criminal gang were from El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil.
Amnesty International’s UK Director Kate Allen said:
“The cold-blooded murder of defenceless migrants trying to reach the US to improve their lives and that of their families is the clearest proof yet of the scale and severity of attacks on irregular migrants.
“It is vital to ensure that those responsible for the killings are identified and brought to justice. The authorities must also ensure the safety of witnesses and quickly and reliably establish the identity of victims so that their families can receive their remains and grieve for their loved ones.
“Sufficient resources must be made available to enable the relatives to recover the bodies.”

In April Amnesty International issued a report highlighting the failure of Mexican federal and state authorities to implement effective measures to prevent and punish thousands of kidnappings, killings and rape of irregular migrants at the hands of criminal gangs, who often operate with the complicity or acquiescence of public officials.
This case once again demonstrates the extreme dangers faced by migrants and the apparent inability of both federal and state authorities to reduce the attacks that migrants face. The response of the authorities to this case will be a test.
The failure of the federal government to show clear leadership in implementing measures to address the systematic violence faced by irregular migrants must end with the implementation of a clear action plan in which all key agencies, such as the Federal Attorney General's Office, Federal Public Security Ministry (SSP), Interior Ministry, National Migration Services and state authorities take coordinated and effective action.
Tens of thousands of irregular migrants travelling to the US border face constant threat of kidnapping and attack by criminal gangs and in some cases by security forces. Those behind the abuses are almost never brought to justice and migrants have limited opportunity of securing justice and little information is available to the scores of relatives searching for missing loved ones. For more information, see Invisible victims, Migrants on the Move in Mexico, AI Index: AMR 41/014/2010, April 2010.
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