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Perilous Journey: Kidnapping and Violence Against Migrants in Transit Through Mexico

Every year, hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central American migrants, primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, travel through Mexico on their way to the U.S. border. These migrants are particularly vulnerable during this journey through Mexico and many suffer grave human rights abuses and violence along their journey at the hands of organized crime and corrupt officials.Kidnapping and extortion of migrants are among the most lucrative— and brutal—practices by organized crime in Mexico and are especially pervasive along the migratory route. Five years ago, advocates at migrant shelters along the south-north train route began to systematically document and gather first-hand accounts of migrants who had survived kidnapping. A series of these testimonies were published by the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, or Center Prodh) and the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo (Migrant Shelter of Saltillo, Coahuila) in the Cuaderno sobre Secuestro de Migrantes (Report on Migrant Kidnappings) in December 2011. English translations of these testimonies are highlighted in LAWGEF's new report, Perilous Journey: Kidnapping and Violence against Migrants in Transit through Mexico. From these accounts, we gain a fuller picture of the depth of this humanitarian crisis – and steps that authorities on both sides of the border can take to prevent and bring justice to this horrific violence that has traumatized migrants and their families across the region.

Read our report: Perilous Journey: Kidnapping and Violence Against Migrants in Transit Through Mexico

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Far from the Promised Land: Land Restitution on Colombia's Caribbean Coast

The 2011 passage of the Victims' Law raised hopes and dreams among Colombia's hundreds of thousands of victims of violence and forced displacement. Yet a second in-depth investigation by LAWGEF with Lutheran World Relief in 2013 on the law's implementation shows that two years later, many of its promises remain a distant dream. Land restitution is slow, with barely 1 percent of claims filed resolved to date. Land rights leaders and returning communities are in grave danger. This report, focused on the Caribbean Coast, concludes that land restitution cannot take place safely without more decisive action by the Colombian government to dismantle the structures that caused displacement in the first place, especially paramilitary successor groups, their allies in state security forces and local government, and the landowners and companies that employ them. The report includes dramatic case studies of communities that still face danger, whether they have returned or are still waiting their chance to return. It also includes recommendations on how to achieve sustainable and safe land restitution.

Read our report: Far from the Promised Land:Land Restitution on Colombia's Caribbean Coast

Lea nuestra informe: Lejos de la Tierra Prometida: Restitución de Tierras en la Costa Caribe del Colombia


Time to Listen: Trends in U.S. Security Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States’ diplomatic influence is ebbing in Latin America and the Caribbean. U.S. military influence, though, remains strong. The result is inertia, a policy on autopilot, focused on security threats and capabilities at a time when creativity is badly needed. Moving in a more constructive direction would not be difficult. It could start with simply listening to what Latin American government and civil-society leaders are saying. The clamor for a new relationship is loud, but still falling on deaf ears. That is the overarching theme of Time to Listen, a new publication from the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, the Washington Office on Latin America, and the Center for International Policy. It is the latest in these groups’ series of publications about trends in U.S. security relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. (These can be viewed at Crammed with statistics and graphics, Time to Listen guides readers through today’s trends on the U.S. security relationship with Latin America.

Read our publication
Time to Listen: Trends in U.S. Security Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean
Lea nuestra publicación: Hora de Escuchar: Tendencias en Asistencia de Seguridad de los EE.UU. hacia America Latina y el Caribe



Still a Dream: Land Restitution on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

Despite the promises of Colombia’s Victims Law, land restitution on the Caribbean Coast has barely begun.   LAWGEF’s and Lutheran World Relief’s September 2012 report, Still a Dream: Land Restitution on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, shows the tremendous obstacles that face implementation, including the lack of protections for returning communities, as well as the pressures that are causing small farmers and Afro-Colombian communities to continue to be pushed off their lands.  As Colombia’s peace negotiations advance, the ability of the government to deliver on its promises to victims of violence is essential to the construction of a just and lasting peace. The report provides recommendations to the Colombian government and international community on how to fairly, effectively and safely advance land restitution and reparations.

Read our publicationStill a Dream: Land Restitution on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast
Lea nuestra publicación: Aun un Sueño: Restitución de Tierras en la Costa Caribe Colombiana

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