April 1, 2021


To the Federal, State and Municipal Authorities of the State of Quintana Roo

To the State Human Rights Commission

To the National Human Rights Commission

To the Authorities of El Salvador

To Franciscans International

To all people of good faith

The Franciscan Network on Migration from the US – Mexico – Central America, firmly repudiates the events that occurred on March 27 of this year in the Tumbe Ka neighborhood of Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. In the aforementioned incident, elements of the municipal public security patrol handcuffed and subdued Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza, originally from El Salvador, who at the time of the events, was in Mexican territory with her two youngest daughters, as refugees.

During her arrest, Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza was murdered by elements of the municipal public security forces. After her death, fractures were found on the first and second vertebrae of her spine, a fact that not only indicates the excessive use of physical force to which she was subjected, but also exposes the visible and invisible systematic violence experienced in Mexico. Violence brought about by immigration policies applied by the Military and the National Guard in the eleven border points of Mexican territory, thereby exacerbating racism and xenophobia on the part of the authorities at all three levels of government: municipal, state and federal. 

Victoria’s case is not isolated. Thousands of migrant women fleeing violence in their countries of origin paradoxically become victims of direct, structural, and symbolic violence in Mexican territory, making them a vulnerable group, making urgent the call for dignified care and respect for their human rights, in accordance with the law, as established in Article 1 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and in various International Treaties signed and ratified by the Mexican State.

With this in mind, we reject this femicide, which is fraught with xenophobia, racism and discrimination on the part of the police authorities. Migrants are not criminals, they are not a criminal threat; but in cases such as this one, they are victims of corrupt police and local governments. We join the call by her relatives in demanding justice — zero tolerance for impunity in this case, which has drawn attention and been publicized on social networks.

We demand from the Mexican authorities at all three levels:

  1. Respect for the human rights of each and every migrant regardless of their immigration status.
  2. Policies aimed at preventing and eliminating all types of discrimination and xenophobia by the authorities.
  3. The intervention of the Consulate of El Salvador and Mexican authorities, to provide protection to the daughters of Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza, exposed to physical and psychological violence, where the best interests of minors prevail.
  4. To the Attorney General of Quintana Roo, the correct handling of the investigation file, with respect for due process, as well as reparation for damages and non-repetition of the violation of the human rights of migrants.
  5. In conformity with the rule of law, we strongly urge that victims be offered adequate reparation, including compensation, rehabilitation, and satisfaction (including restitution of reputation and public recognition of the damage suffered).

Finally, as Franciscans, we commit ourselves to continue accompanying the journey of so many migrants, from where we serve as a “Samaritan” Church. Following the example of Saint Joseph, we will be guardians of those who are forced to migrate to other lands. We join the pain and indignation of the family, offering our prayer with tenderness and solidarity. These and so many other injustices challenge all of us who are disciples of Jesus, who seek to build a community as did Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.

Franciscans Network on Migration
Central America – Mexico – USA

Photos: La 72 Hogar-Refugio para personas Migrantes