The Arms Trade and Human Rights of Migrants and Mexicans
June 12-26 2016
Join us for a delegation of activists and journalists to Mexico that will explore arms sales and U.S. militarization in Mexico, their impacts on Mexicans and Central Americans in Mexico, and nonviolent social movements addressing security and state violence.
The group will begin in Mexico City, hearing from human rights, migrant support, and weapons control organizations. Then it will travel to Guerrero state, where Mexican communities (including Ayotzinapa) are directly impacted by violence aggravated by the weapons trade, to Cuernavaca, and to Tapachula, Chiapas, to see the border and learn about the situations of Central American migrants impacted by Mexican immigration enforcement.
Since September 2014, when 43 students were disappeared by Mexican police in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexicans have been highly mobilized to end state violence and impunity. The Mexican state is deeply complicit in both direct human rights abuses and the violence of organized crime. The United States should not be arming such a state.
Yet US arms sales to the Mexican police and military have grown enormously, to $3.5 billion since the end of 2012. Thousands of military-grade assault weapons are also purchased commercially in the United States and trafficked to Mexico for use by criminal organizations.
Mexico is a transit state and destination for people fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, which have the highest homicide rates in the world. Since the number of Central American children arriving at the U.S. border spiked in 2014, the United States has supported Mexico’s massive detention and deportation of these migrants in southern Mexico, pushing them into more dangerous areas dominated by organized crime and its U.S.-obtained weapons.
U.S. weapons and military transfers to Mexico subvert needs for shared security. We seek increased transparency around US arms sales to Mexico, and an end to U.S. pressure on Mexico to interdict and repatriate Central Americans.
We also seek through this delegation to: develop our knowledge and analysis on these issues; establish connections with young people and indigenous communities confronting violence in Mexico; lay the groundwork for collaboration between AFSC and allies from both the United States and Mexico to work on issues of violence and weapons; and gather video testimony and footage to be used in U.S. grassroots education on impacts of militarization on human rights and migration.
Cost: $1500, includes all costs within Mexico, between arrival/ departure in Mexico City. Participants are expected to follow up the delegation with grassroots education, media, advocacy, and/or research in collaboration with AFSC. Some scholarship funds are available.
Apply: By Friday, April 29. Download application here.
Security: Groups inGuerrero state vying for control have increased risks for ordinary citizens. We take seriously the security of the group and its members. We are consulting closely with local hosts and organizers and with AFSC's security advisors. We may change the itinerary based on security concerns, and will brief the group before and during our travel.
John Lindsay-Poland, 510-282-8983
Kathryn Johnson, 202-483-3341, ext. 108