For its part, MSF demanded the closure of migratory stations and the access of migrants to medical care and protection against the new virus.
Due to the risks that this type of confinement implies, organizations, universities, networks and activists, human rights defenders, demanded the immediate release of all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention
And it is that in the country’s migration stations they operate in “terrible conditions”, in addition to the fact that the arrests of children and adolescents are “illegal”.
“The pandemic deepens uncertainty and fear, while generating even greater health risks for detainees,” it warns.
In a letter demanded the cessation of immigration arrests and the “release of all persons detained at immigration stations and provisional stays.”
Here is the letter addressed to the Mexican authorities and its signatories:
Immediate Freedom Migrants 02042020.PDF by Aristegui News on Scribd
In parallel, Doctors without borders He denounced that “on the night of Tuesday, March 31, a riot occurred inside the immigration station (La 72 shelter in Tenosique) that triggered a fire, in a protest against the deplorable conditions of the detention center, its overcrowding, lack of medical attention or the absence of preventive measures and information regarding the health emergency due to Covid-19 ″.
“The testimonies of our patients and the authorities of the shelters where the detainees were relocated indicate that the Immigration Station on the day of the fire contained 170 migrants and asylum seekers, in a space enabled for 100 people, ”said Karolix Zambrano, head of the Mental Health services of the MSF team in Tenosique.
MSF maintained that the situation reported by the refugees and migrants who were detained is particularly alarming in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We attended patients with previous respiratory symptoms, that is, with respiratory infections and fever that received no care in the last two weeks and were not isolated from the rest of the population. In addition, we attended highly vulnerable populations such as HIV patients who did not have treatment, others indicated the lack of water and poor hygiene conditions, “says Esmeralda Orozco, MSF nurse.
“As our teams confirmed during visits made in 2019 to various Migratory Stations in southern Mexico, these spaces they did not have regular medical attention nor did they then have basic services such as water, among other factors that made them ideal breeding grounds for the spread of disease outbreaks, the Covid-19 among them. “
For this reason, MSF sued the Mexican authorities that release all migrants currently in detention centers and ensure the diagnosis and medical assistance of those who require it to avoid possible infections.
“Taking into account the degree of expansion of the Covid-19 epidemic in Mexico, keeping migrants detained at immigration stations seriously jeopardizes the health of these people ”, says Sergio Martin, responsible for MSF’s operations in Mexico
In addition to this situation, migrants detained at the Migration Stations who want their voluntary repatriation they are unable to return to their countries of origin because the Government of Guatemala closed their border and asked Mexico to cancel the repatriations of its compatriots and migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua who have to cross Guatemalan territory to be repatriated.
“We call on the government of Mexico to ensure that asylum seekers can remain in Mexico in dignified and safe conditions and to arrange for voluntary repatriations together with the consulates of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. It is urgent that the authorities of all the countries of the region implement the measures that limit the risk of contagion among this migrant population and ensure access to health care both in Mexico and in their countries of origin in case some choose to the voluntary return ”, ends Martín.
In Mexico, MSF provides medical and mental health care in shelters in Tapachula, Tenosique, Coatzacoalcos, Mexico City, Nuevo Laredo, Caborca, Reynosa and Matamoros. He is currently preparing his teams to adapt and expand their activities in fighting Covid-19 disease.