Forced Displacement in Mexico Due to Drug Cartel Violence: IDMC

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The December 2010 report by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) looks at drug cartel violence in Mexico’s northern states and the resulting displacements it has caused.

According to the report, the problem of forced displacement in Mexico is often ignored, thus making figures hard to come by. However, it estimates that over 200,000 have been displaced in northern Mexico with half of them crossing the border to seek refuge in the United States.

Focusing on Ciudad Juarez and Valle de Juáaez in Chihuahua, and Ciudad Mier in Tamaulipas, the report attempts to distinguish displacement from other potential motivating factors such as economic migration flows. Despite economic-related reasons for large numbers of people leaving certain areas in the north, at least 230,000 people fled Ciudad Juarez alone between 2007 and 2009. Half of these became internally displaced persons (IDPs), moving to neighboring Mexican states for safety.

The report concludes that alongside efforts to curb cartel violence, the state must seek to protect IDPs through a series of property rights measures for the victims’ land, housing and property that they have abandoned. It should also, for exmaple in the case of Tamaulipas, impose contingency measures that ensure integration for IDPs in the area they have been forcibly displaced to. These include ensuring access to schools for children, work opportunities for adults and access to public services.

Despite the primary importance of the Mexican state in facilitating these measures, responsibility does not rest solely on its shoulders:

…international agencies with protection mandates already present in the country should seek to cooperate with the government to investigate the full extent of forced displacement, provide protection and assistance, and promote durable solutions for those forcibly displaced.

Click here to read the full report (pdf).

Haga clic aqui para leer el informe en español (pdf).

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