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29th August 2018, 15:53:38 UTC

In recent closed-door discussions, the US and Mexico have been considering declaring Mexico a “safe third country”. This would block all asylum seekers passing through Mexico from seeking protection in the USA and force them to stay in dangerous and under-equipped Mexico. This deal could be agreed in coming weeks putting thousands at risk.

During recent months, representatives of the Trump administration have publicly expressed interest in declaring Mexico a “safe third country”. This deal would put thousands of people crossing through Mexico at risk. They would be forced to seek asylum in Mexico because the USA would no longer receive them. The Mexican government regularly breaches international refugee law, including laws that prohibit sending people back to life-threatening situations.

The number of people seeking safety in Mexico has increased in recent years. Its asylum system is struggling to cope with the asylum claims. Most claims are from citizens of some of the world´s most violent countries like El Salvador and Honduras. In a recent Amnesty International survey, 75 per cent of those detained by Mexican migration authorities were not told of their right to seek asylum.

The UNHCR has long expressed concern about “safe third country” agreements and the need to ensure such agreements do not violate the principle of non-refoulement (deportation to countries where asylum-seekers would be at risk of persecution). Amnesty International opposes these policies because they undermine the concept of responsibility-sharing for refugee crises, and the obligation to undertake individualised decision-making for asylum claims instead of deeming all nationals from certain territories as inadmissible.

Call on Mexico and the USA to stop this deal.

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