A few days ago I accompanied two migrant victims of kidnapping to file their complaint. One of these victims was a 60-year-old woman who was leaving her country for the first time, and fleeing a situation of extreme poverty and insecurity, after having been deprived of her liberty for four days. She was also starved and deprived of drinking water and continuously had her life threatened if her family did not pay the ransom they were asking. She witnessed how they beat and threatened her traveling companion. And after being treated and being hospitalized for a day together with her companion, they decided to file a complaint.
With all of this and the fear that seized them, we traveled to Palenque where they had been captured by actors in organized crime, to file the complaint. They were treated with indifference, coldness and even irritation by the authorities in charge of the prosecutor’s office, those who “specialize in administering justice.” I was very clear when I told the authorities that the people were going to denounce this KIDNAPPING, and how they had recounted, in detail, the torture, and demonstrated the scars from the cables used to tie them up, that their eyes were completey red, and how their body, full of wounds from these four days of captivity, had to be bandaged.
As we wrapped up the process of registering the complaint, I ask the prosecutor if he would provide me with copies of the complaint. At that point I noted that the crime had been classified as “extortion.” I immediately I asked him to change the classification of the crime, and his attitude changed: he acted very superior and stated that he would not change anything. He had to verify that what they were saying was true, because these victims were actually abusers who only wanted to take advantage of the situation to obtain immigration papers.
In situations like this and many others, where a person in authority tells the helpless migrant that it is a waste of time to file a complaint, that the kidnappers belong to Zapatista communities that they have their own laws, that the kidnappers are very well armed and they do not have the adequate equipment to confront them, etc. etc., I get the impression that those who are “specialized” to administer international justice (people working in a specialized prosecutor’s office for migrants), do not have the remotest idea of what human rights are, what the rights of migrants are, and much less what international justice and protection of their rights should be.
It is sad to witness the responses that the authority gives to migrants who are victims of crimes in Mexico, and it is even more worrying to think about what a person experiences when, on their own account, they go before an authority to request justice for the commission of a crime against them.
I will end by saying that, if we see something, we have to say something, we cannot remain silent in the face of so much impunity for the crimes of which migrants are victims. International justice will be a reality to the extent that we condemn and confront the actions of corrupt authorities who avoid responsibility, and who favor organized crime or are part of it. It is urgent to influence these situations where justice for migrants is null.
Testimony of Diana Muñoz Alba
Franciscan Misisionary Sister of María
Casa Betania – Santa Martha