NNIRR Statement in Support of Caravan for Peace with Justice & Dignity


Raising awareness of the connections: drug policy, violence, human rights, migration and more...

The National Network supports the initiative and courage of the organizers of the Caravan for Peace now making its way to Washington, DC, from its starting point in Tijuana on August 12. We are proud that along the route, NNIRR members have connected to the caravan to help host local events and strengthen the solidarity of our movements. Please read  and share our statement of support on the Caravan's important vision and connection to our commitment to human rights:

We support our sisters and brothers in the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of the War on Drugs on the people of Mexico, and as well, on the migrants, refugees and other communities living along the U.S.‐Mexico border.

The Caravan raises awareness about the tens of thousands of people who have been killed or “disappeared” in Mexico since the launching of the U.S.‐supported War on Drugs in 2006. Those affected include thousands of Central American migrants who have been caught in the crossfire, kidnapped and executed as they made their way to the U.S. in search of safety and better lives. The estimated numbers are astounding: 60,000 killed, 10,000 disappeared and 160,000 displaced.

We cannot turn our heads away from the violence that continues to take place; nor can we afford to shy away from the deep and difficult issues behind the violence. The widespread violence, deaths and human rights violations that have become commonplace in the U.S.‐ Mexico border region should be a national concern, and we praise the Caravan for Peace in its mission to bring about “a friendly but critical dialogue to guarantee justice and dignity, and through this, a much‐needed peace.”

The Caravan is being led by the Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose own son was gunned down in Cuernavaca in March, 2011. After he lost his son, he has led two other Caravans for Peace within Mexico, where he was joined by hundreds of thousands of people. On August 12, Sicilia and a hundred other people affected by the drug violence crossed into the U.S. to launch the present Caravan, joined by other 100 partner organizations and with planned stops in dozens of cities before arriving in Washington, DC on Sept. 12.

As a human rights organization that advocates for the safety and well‐being of all migrant communities, we are all too aware of the phenomenon of violence in the border region, most typically, the “violence” associated with the systematic discrimination, harassment and abuse of immigrants and those “perceived” to be immigrants, by our own immigration agents as well as by local police. We have also become painfully aware of the increasing numbers of people who have lost family and friends to the violence of the drug wars, or who have perished as they fled for safety. More and more U.S. border communities are becoming havens for those seeking refuge, yet who have no protected asylum or refugee status.

U.S. immigration and drug enforcement programs continue to escalate the militarization of the region, creating an even more hostile environment. Moreover, the reliance on incarceration and criminalization in both drug and immigration policy has contributed to record numbers of people in our jails and detention centers – practices that permanently separate families and doom the future of another generation. Our immigrant and indigenous populations, young people, women and other marginalized groups most often bear the traumatic consequences of these policies and programs.

While we have mainly focused on immigration policy, we understand and we are not afraid to also tackle U.S. drug policy. We are convinced that we cannot achieve real community safety in the border region without an examination of the U.S. drug policy along with a humane and just reform of our immigration policies. We hope the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity will help us to move towards the deep and interconnected discussions and changes that are needed on both sides of the border. We are particularly committed to working with our friends and counterparts in the U.S. to address both immigration and drug policies to create a new vision for real community safety, peace and security. As this country prepares for another presidential election and looks towards the policy priorities beyond this period, we urge the Administration and Congress to consider the totality of U.S. policies that affect the human rights, safety and well‐being of all our communities.

Lastly, we encourage everyone in our immigrants’ rights community to welcome and support the Caravan for Peace as it makes its way across the country.

See http://www.caravanforpeace.org/caravan/ for more information about the Caravan for Peace, its route and schedule.