Francesca Fontanini
Regional Public Information Officer
Duty Station: Mexico City, Mexico

I am addressing the challenge of how to inform people about the possibility to ask for asylum in Mexico.

Our potential beneficiaries (refugees and asylum seekers)  do not have information about how to ask for asylum in Mexico. In the last years, the deterioration of the situation in the Northern Triangle of Central America – NTCA (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala), have steadily pushed thousands of Hondurans, Salvadorans, and in a lesser extend Guatemalans, to search for international protection in countries such as Mexico. Case profiles typically relate to the high levels of violence perpetrated by organized criminal gangs (the so-called “maras”), or gender-based and domestic violence.

Despite the fact that other humanitarian crises are much more visible, what we see in this part of  the continent is as well a humanitarian  refugees crisis and not a migration one. Numbers so far are no so high as they are supposed to be as people of our concern they are not aware of the possibility to ask asylum in Mexico and how to access to these protection mechanisms.  Government statistics show that the number of asylum-seekers is very small relative to the number of people from NTCA who enter Mexico: the number of asylum seekers is equivalent to 1.5% of the number of people detained. In a context where different UNHCR studies conclude that as many as 50% of those fleeing the NTCA do so due to criminal violence and persecution, UNHCR remains concerned over the ineffectiveness of Mexican authorities to properly screen and identify individuals with potential international protection needs, in addition to the absence of mechanisms to adequately inform persons of their right to asylum in Mexico.

I want to find a solution to this challenge because clear and easy information about asylum could safe life of entire families.