The ICRC regional delegation in Mexico
The Mexico City delegation covers Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. It helps migrants and families of missing people, monitors detainee welfare, backs efforts to prevent violence among youth, supports National Red Cross Societies and promotes IHL and international human rights law. The delegation opened in 1998 and became regional in 2002.
To help tackle the growing problems affecting migrants in the region, the ICRC is developing its support for the most vulnerable amongst them, in particular amputees. It cooperates with the Mexican Red Cross to provide first aid for migrants at Mexico’s border with the United States and works with the Guatemalan Red Cross to support repatriated migrants at the Guatemala/Mexico border. Between February and May 2011, more than 2,300 migrants received Red Cross support; 25 patients were successfully treated through ICRC-supported limb fitting services at rehabilitation centres in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
In Mexico, the ICRC supports efforts to establish standard forensic procedures when dealing with human remains, in order to reduce the number of people, including migrants, who are buried without being identified. In Guatemala, the ICRC is involved in clarifying the fate of people who went missing during the internal armed conflict by providing expertise in the fields of forensic science, data management and psychological counselling for families of missing persons.
As gang violence continues to disrupt the lives of communities, the ICRC supports two projects in Guatemala City that seek to prevent youth violence, run by the Guatemalan and Spanish Red Cross Societies. In Honduras, the ICRC and the Ministry of Education have developed a project offering education, protection and assistance to pupils of 20 schools affected by organised violence. The Honduran Red Cross provides first aid.
In Mexico, the ICRC visits people detained for alleged links with armed groups or arrested during confrontations with security forces, mainly in connection with social, ethnic and land issues. In Panama, visits continue to Colombian nationals with alleged links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The ICRC and the Panamanian Red Cross seek to improve access to primary health, dental services and safe water for the resident population in the Alto Tuira area, in Panama's Darién region bordering Colombia,
In Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, the ICRC cooperates with the National Societies to help migrants. In all countries covered by the Regional Delegation, the ICRC strengthens the Societies’ capacity for restoring family links and promotes ‘Safer Access’ guidelines that seek to ensure greater security for Red Cross members operating in high-risk areas.
Promoting legal norms
The ICRC works with the armed forces in most of the region's countries to incorporate IHL, and the legal and humanitarian principles regulating the use of force, into training programmes and manuals. In its work with the police forces of the region, the ICRC promotes compliance with human rights norms governing the use of force in law enforcement.
Seeking to ensure greater respect for the rules of IHL, the ICRC supports States in their efforts to implement, integrate and promote treaty and customary legal norms nationally, working with both their armed and security forces and with bodies such as the National IHL Committees. The main priorities are weapons treaties, repression of war crimes, missing persons (and related forensic issues) and the regulation of the use of force.
The ICRC is re-enforcing its interaction with academic circles for the promotion, implementation and development of IHL, and to deepen its analysis of the humanitarian consequences of the violence prevailing in the region.