This week at a forum organized by youth organizations in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, children and adolescents shared their fears and dreams in the face of the violence they experience in the current climate of the state.
The recent spate of violence in Chiapas has left at least two youths dead as well as others injured. It has also resulted in the forced displacement of families and trauma experienced by girls, boys and adolescents who are trapped in the midst of this violence. It is estimated that some 7,000 children have been displaced since 2010 to date. REDIAS, an umbrella group for seven collectives that work with minors across the state of Chiapas, has made a call for urgent action for the latest victims to receive proper attention.
The ongoing tragedy of disappearances in Mexico continues and does so in impunity. It is an omnipresent problem which also affects the state of Chiapas, where almost half of the disappeared are children or adolescents. From 2021 to 2022, 1,171 girls, boys and adolescents were reported disappeared in the state. Girls and adolescent women represent the most affected group and often end up in sexual slavery. It is a phenomenon that especially affects indigenous populations and is largely underreported or not reported at all.
The global migration catastrophe has had serious consequences for Latin America. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forcefully displaced from their homelands due to violence, poverty, persecution and the climate crisis. Most of the migrants are en route to the USA in hope of a better life. Their journey invariably takes them through Mexico, Chiapas being their main point of entrance. Although the majority of the migrants come from Central and South America and the Caribbean, some come from as far away as the continents of Africa and Asia. Many of them are children and adolescents. Few reach their destination as many of them are detained and deported to their countries of origin.
Due to toughened measures against migration during the Trump presidency and continued by Biden, the US border has effectively been moved to Guatemala and this has resulted in increased militarization of the state of Chiapas, an issue that we have examined in previous blogs.
As part of our collaboration with the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) and a continued diversification of our solidarity work, Schools for Chiapas has been recruiting and placing civil observer volunteers at the migrant refuge in Salto el Agua. If you would like to find out more and perhaps volunteer at the center for a month, please visit our website at https://schoolsforchiapas.org/become-a-human-rights-observer/