CREDIT: AJ+ / YOUTUBE
By law, Mexico offers asylum to anyone facing harm in their home country, but thousands of children from Central America, seeking protection from gang violence, are being denied their human rights.
Children who can show legitimate threats on their bodies, like 16-year-old Rudy from El Salvador who has a large, vertical scar on his abdomen from a “bullet [that] entered my backside and from there it went up my body because I was running away.”
Like Rudy, Joel, 16, also faced threats from gangs. “They told us that if we didn’t pay in three days, they’d kill us and send us where they’d send people on motorbikes,” he said.
A report by the group Human Rights Watch found that half of those minors arriving in Mexico are fleeing gang violence and recruitment, but less than 1 percent are actually considered refugees. Immigration agents don’t even inform them of their rights.
“They suffer constant harassment by security agents, migration agents so that the person drops their asylum request,” said Diego Lorente, director of Fray Matías Cordoba Human Rights Center.
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