[Source – Washington Post]
MEXICO CITY — Mexico and Honduras announced Wednesday they have agreed to create a high-level group to combat attacks on undocumented Honduran migrants who are passing through the country en route to the United States.
Honduran Assistant Foreign Minister Alden Rivera said an estimated 10,000 of the 75,000 Hondurans who cross Mexico each year in attempts to reach the U.S. are kidnapped or held for extortion.
“This means that 30 Hondurans may be subject to such attacks each day,” Rivera said, adding that gangs usually demand the migrants’ relatives pay ransoms of between $100 and $3,000.
Rivera said the group will include officials of both countries, and will focus on informing migrants about the risks they face and how to report such crimes.
The focus will also be on better investigating the crimes, which are often committed by drug gangs.
Mexico’s Foreign relations Department said it hopes to include other Central American countries in the group.
Gunmen have reportedly kidnapped two groups of migrants in Mexico this month.
Seven gunmen kidnapped nine Central Americans on Dec. 21 from a train near the Ixtepec, a town in southern Oaxaca state, and authorities are investigating the possible Dec. 16 kidnapping of 50 migrants there.
Some claim that Mexico has been slow to respond to the attacks. On Tuesday Guatemala said in a diplomatic note that it was concerned by “the constant violations of human rights suffered by migrants who cross Mexican territory” and suggested Mexico should create a special prosecutor’s office to investigate the attacks.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said Wednesday it “emphasizes its support for the Central American nations in light of the events in Oaxaca,” but noted “unilateral accusations do not contribute to the spirit of cooperation that this enormous challenge requires.”