Saturday, January 24, 2009

Indigenous Peoples Migration: Current Challenges

Millions of indigenous people have migrated from small towns and communities to the big cities of Mexico, and around half a million Mexican indigenous people now live in the United States. It began when people had to look for work to support their families during the severe economic crisis of the 1980s, which still has not ended.

The Mexican government has repeatedly said that Mexico is strong and will be able to resist the global economic crisis and especially the U.S. crisis, which began two years ago. However, Mexico has been in economic crisis for the last 28 years. No government has been able to resolve this, partly because we Mexicans are by now used to living in crisis.

The number of Mexican migrants to the United States in these 28 years now reaches 26 million, and it's not true that many are returning to their communities due to the recent critical situation in the United States. Migration has helped us to feel the crisis a little less, due to the large amounts of money we send to our families that also has supported regional, state, and national economies in Mexico.

Now, faced with the serious economic crisis in the United States, the Mexican government is more worried about shrinking remittances than about implementing true economic development across the country and particularly in regions of high out-migration. The government has even asked migrants not to stop sending money to our families, as though supporting families were the responsibility of migrants while the Mexican government washes its hands of its responsibility.

Indigenous Migration Within the Frame of Migration and Human Rights

Migrants from every country suffer very serious human rights violations, not only in the United States but also in all of Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In Mexico, the rights of South and Central American migrants and others on their way to the United States are violated. For this reason, the current government does not have the moral authority to ask anything of other governments on behalf of its people when it does not set an example of respecting the human rights of migrants in transit or the rights of Mexicans who participate in social and indigenous organizations.

All migrants suffer violations of our human rights, such as the right to work freely; suitable living conditions; access to healthcare, education, free movement, legal assistance; no language barriers; literacy rights; and the right to civic participation in the country in which we live. On top of this, we suffer discrimination and police and military persecution.

Read more about the challenges of indigenous peoples migration here.

Translated from: La migración indígena y sus desafíos en la coyuntura actual
Translated by: Nalina Eggert

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