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Mexico: 39 people die in migrant detention center fire

39 people have died in a fire on March 28 in a migrants’ detention center in Ciudad Juarez. 28 others were hospitalized. There are allegations that the center’s staff left the victims locked up after the fire started.

We call on President Andrés López Obrador to immediately change course and protect migrants’ and refugees’ rights in Mexico.

Download a PDF of UA 32/23 below

What you can do:

Write to President Andrés López Obrador urging him to:

  • Ensure that a new set of policies and practices fully guarantee migrants’ and refugees’ human rights in Mexico, including putting a stop to the militarization of migration and the detention of migrants.
  • Coordinate with all relevant authorities to make sure that the victims of this tragedy are not further stigmatized, that there is a prompt, comprehensive and transparent investigation into the human right violations that took place.
  • Guarantee the right to health of the survivors who have been hospitalized.
  • Grant them migration regularization if they so wish.
  • Guarantee full reparation for the victims and their families, and finally, identify and ensure the repatriation of the bodies of the deceased in a dignified way and without any charge.

Write to:

Palacio Nacional, edificio 10, planta baja,

Colonia Centro. C.P. 06060, alcaldía


Ciudad de México, México

Twitter: @lopezobrador_

Salutation: Dear Mr. President López Obrador:

And copy:

His Excellency Carlos Manuel JOAQUIN GONZALEZ


Embassy of the United Mexican States

45 O’Connor Street, Suites 1000 and 1030

Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4

Tel: (613) 233-8988, -9272, -9917 / 613-795-1868 (24h)

Email: infocan@sre.gob.mx


The people held at the migrant’s detention center were coming from five different countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela. Amnesty International had documented and denounced the grave human rights situation in all these countries. These situations have forced people to embark on oftentimes dangerous journeys to other countries in the region in search of international protection.

The lives lost and injuries sustained in the fire that occurred at the Ciudad Juarez migrant’s center on March 28 are a consequence of people being forced to seek international protection, as they are at risk of losing their lives or suffering other human rights violations, both in their countries of origin and in those of transit and destination.

Faced with this situation, the countries in the region, led by the United States of America, have established shared migration policies that are increasingly inhumane, making it almost impossible to access the right to seek asylum, thus forcing people to seek more dangerous routes that place them in even more vulnerable situations.

Militarized borders

As part of a strategy to curb migration in collaboration with the United States of America and Canada, Mexican authorities have tasked the National Guard with immigration enforcement and militarized the nation’s borders. In addition, they have systematically used immigration detention with about 318,660 people detained in migrant detention centers in 2022 alone. More than 106,000, were expelled including children and adolescents.

These detentions are carried out without complying with the standards of exceptionality, proportionality, necessity, and appropriateness of detention. They are not done with the highest standards regarding dignified detention conditions, including the prohibition of overcrowding and the availability of sufficient food and water. The First Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) established on March 15, 2023 that people should not be held in migrant detention centers for more than 36 hours, after which they should be released from detention.

                                                         Please take action at your earliest convenience!