Internally Displaced Persons in Mexico

Figures from 2017

Thousands of people have been forced to abandon their places of residence due to violence in Mexico.

During 2017, 25 cases of large-scale internal displacement occurred in Mexico, which affected 20,390 people.

Internal Displacement

Internally displaced persons are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized border.

“You have to be careful, change your habits, stay alert, because things aren’t going to be the same”

States with The Highest Number of Displaced People

Chiapas  – 6,090 people /3 cases

Guerrero – 5,948 people /7 cases

Sinaloa – 2,967 people /5 cases

Oaxaca – 2,700 people /3 cases

Michoacán – 1,350 people /2 cases

Chihuahua – 693 people /3 cases

Durango – 365 people /1 cases

Zacatecas – 230 people /1 cases

Coahuila – 47 people /1 cases

In all instances of large-scale displacement violence was reported

Types of violence that cause internal displacement

Armed attacks against civilians:
8 large-scale cases/10,947 people

Violent armed confrontations:
6 large-scale cases/6,335 people

Violent evictions:
3 large-scale cases/ 935 people

Fear of violence:
2 large-scale cases/1,247 people

Territorial disputes between armed criminal groups: 1 large-scale cases/
276 people

Assassinations of community leaders:
1 large-scale cases/595 people

Causes of Internal Displacement

Armed Criminal Organizations (17 cases)

Politically-Motivated Violence, Social and Territorial Conflicts  (7 cases)

Development Projects (1 case)

“They destroyed our businesses and our homes, kidnapped nephews, and killed my brothers. We had to flee to save our lives”

Types of Violence that Caused Internal Displacement

  • Use of Firearms: 19 cases/76% of total
  • Threats and Intimidation: 15 cases/60% of total
  • Attacks on Homes, Crops or Businesses: 14 cases/56% of total
  • SLooting of Homes and Theft of Livestock, Crops, or Other Belongings: 9 episodios/35% of total
  • Forced Recruitment: 4 episodios/16% of total
  • Arbitrary Detentions by Authorities: 2/8% of total

Instances of internal displacement involving vulnerable groups

15 cases -Women

14 cases – Children

9 cases -Seniors

4 cases – Pregnant Women

Indigenous People 9 cases 12,323 Indigenous People

12,323 Indigenous People

“I brought very little clothing with me, they stole my ID and my memories… everything. My life changed completely”

Returning to Places of Origin

In five cases some of those displaced were reported to have returned.

In three cases displaced people returned under pressure from government officials without guarantees of security.  

Act To:

Recognize the Victims of Internal Displacement in Mexico

The Mexican federal government must recognize internal displacement as a violation of its citizen’s human rights and ensure safety and stability to victims. It must also contribute to and guarantee compensation for those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

Official Estimates of the Problem

The Mexican state must create mechanisms to formally and accurately measure internal displacement within its borders. An official count of victims of internal displacement is the first step in this process.

Creation of an Official Policy Regarding Displaced People (Ley General para la Prevención y Atención AL Desplazamiento Interno Forzado)

An official set of policies governing the prevention of internal displacement and addressing the needs of victims is urgently needed. This law must consider the vicious cycle of displacement and ensure there are no obstacles when victims attempt to report displacement. It also must take into account the benefits victims of displacement are entitled to, including safety guarantees and compensation for the loss of property.

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