According to the Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH), every year tens of thousands of people are internally displaced in Mexico. Human rights violations, generalised violence, and disasters are among the main causes.
The phenomenon has been documented at least since 1972 as described in a comprehensive report by the National Human Rights Commission. The CMDPDH has been monitoring it systematically since 2014 (see its annual reports), but the Federal Government only officially recognised it in April 2019, with the publication of the study “Violence as a cause of forced internal displacement” by the National Population Council (CONAPO) of the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB). Different efforts are underway to respond to internal displacement in the country. However, numerous challenges persist in regard to producing, analysing and using relevant information more systematically.
In May 2019 the CMDPDH requested JIPS’ support to strengthen capacity on data and analysis on internal displacement in Mexico. The Government of Mexico soon joined this effort, as did the international community. Based on the seven key recommendations from this initial engagement, in 2020 partners decided to go ahead with a profiling exercise in Chihuahua and requested JIPS’ technical support for this purpose.
Building capacity for improved displacement data in Mexico (2019 – 2020)
In May 2019 JIPS received a request for support from partners in Mexico to help improve a national strategy on information management capacity building among actors involved in the response to internal displacement. The request for support followed shortly after an unofficial visit by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, as well as increased engagement on the topic by the government with international actors. Mexico’s National Office on Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI) is also involved in the Expert Group on Refugee, IDP and Statelessness Statistics (EGRISS).
In November 2019, JIPS conducted a mission to better understand the displacement situation in Mexico, including the legal context and the information landscape. During a series of bilateral meetings and workshops, we gathered government, civil society, and the international community at the national and local levels in Mexico City, Chiapas, and Chihuahua.
The mission brought together a wide range of partners, including:
First-ever collaborative platform on internal displacement
The working sessions, for the first time, brought together all actors responding to internal displacement in Mexico to discuss how to jointly shape a coherent and shared approach. The collaborative nature of the mission and the activities planned and implemented in partnership with the government, civil society, and UN partners contributed to an inclusive and neutral space to engage on technical and often complex discussions related to data on internal displacement.
“CONAPO was very satisfied with the mission for several reasons: for the professionalism of JIPS’ advisors, for the cooperation between the Government of Mexico and the CMDPDH, and because it helped account for the challenges the country is facing with regards to internal displacement.” – Raúl Romo Viramontes, Director of population & regional sustainable development
“JIPS’ mission to Mexico made it clear that the technical knowledge to respond to internally displaced persons is limited in the country. It also showed the importance of building institutional awareness, applying established methodologies, and learning from the experiences of other countries in the region.” – Lic. Ramírez Silva Andrés Alfonso, General Coordinator, COMAR
Key recommendations from the exercise
Building on the discussions and working sessions held during the three-week mission, JIPS elaborated a set of seven recommendations, putting specific emphasis on strengthening collaboration between the diverse actors working on internal displacement. The recommendation to carry out the profiling exercise in Chihuahua was initiated in 2020.
Profiling internal displacement in Chihuahua (2020 – 2023)
Following a recommendation from the 2019 scoping mission, partners decided to join efforts for a profiling exercise in Chihuahua State, with JIPS’ technical support. The project aimed to build the first comprehensive evidence on internal displacement in Chihuahua, and guide an improved and better coordinated response of state, civil society, and international actors. In the medium term, the profiling results could also inform a state law or policy in line with the federal law being discussed in Congress.
The exercise’s data collection was completed mid-2022 and comprises:
Key outputs of the exercise include:
The diversity of key stakeholders is reflected in the Profiling Working Group membership, which includes federal and state-level government officials, the international community, and civil society organizations:
JIPS provided technical and collaboration support throughout, including conceptualisation, methodology design, stakeholder engagement, tool development, joint analysis, reporting and dissemination.
Positive impact of the inclusive collaborative platform beyond the exercise
Building on connections established within the profiling exercise’s working group, JIPS alongside UNHCR, the Commission of Indigenous People (CDPIM), and the Mexican Commission for the Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) were invited as members of the Advisory Group for the Internal Displacement Committee in the State of Chihuahua. Both, the Committee and its Advisory Group were officially inaugurated in April 2021.
In addition, following Chihuahua’s Deputy Secretary of the Interior’s initiative, preliminary results from the data collection were shared with state’s line ministries to inform recent discussion around the inclusion of responses to internal displacement in Chihuahua’s 2023 budget.
Involvement of the National Institute of Statistics (INEGI)
JIPS held a series of technical sessions with the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) to strengthen their role of the national statistical office in the profiling exercise and discuss a data collection strategy under COVID-19. The partnership further ensures the links between the profiling exercise, the 2021 national census, and the implementation of the international recommendations on IDP statistics (IRIS), so that the profiling results can be used as (experimental) official data for policy purposes by national actors, as well as for programming from humanitarian, development, government, and civil society organizations supporting IDPs in Mexico. JIPS’ effort culminated in the signing of an agreement between UNHCR and INEGI, confirming INEGI as a partner and implementer for the quantitative data collection for the exercise.