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.
Against this background, 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-country to help inform 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, and in the context of other engagements 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 all the diverse actors responding to internal displacement in Mexico together 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 recommendations were adopted by the high-level representatives of the different institutions and organisations, and informed subsequent prioritisation and planning. As a concrete outcome, the profiling exercise in Chihuahua was initiated in 2020.
Profiling internal displacement in Chihuahua (2020 – ongoing)
Building on the key recommendations from the scoping mission in 2019, partners decided to go ahead with the profiling exercise in Chihuahua State, asking JIPS for technical support. The project aims to build the first comprehensive evidence of internal displacement in the State of Chihuahua, which will inform the state protocol for assistance of victims of internal displacement 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 series of policies in line with the federal law currently being discussed in Congress.
The exercise started off with a joint exercise to systematise and analyse the available information sources related to internal displacement caused by violence in the State of Chihuahua. The secondary data review (SDR) was carried out collaboratively by a subgroup and endorsed by the larger Technical Working Group in December 2020. The profiling methodology is composed of a quantitative and a qualitative component, developed with 26 government, humanitarian, and civil society organizations in the course of more than 12 interactive working sessions. The sessions included capacity development on international standards, concepts, and definitions, such as the International Recommendations on IDP Statistics (IRIS) and the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs.
The household survey was carried out by INEGI between November and January 2022 following a collaborative process of a more technical group (including CONAPO, INEGI, CMDPDH, CEAVE, UNHCR, COLEF, COESPO and JIPS) to develop the indicators and questionnaire. The qualitative component, currently being elaborated, will dig deeper into some of the preliminary findings from the household survey, such as on specific vulnerabilities of indigenous people and other underrepresented groups.
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 methodology design, stakeholder engagement, tools development, analysis, reporting and dissemination.
Positive impact of the inclusive collaborative platform beyond the exercise
The working group and collaborative platform established through JIPS in the country, has resulted in the creation of an Advisory Group for the Interinstitutional Committee for the Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in the State of Chihuahua in March 2021. The Committee and its Advisory Group were officially inaugurated in April 2021, and JIPS has been invited as member alongside UNHCR, the Commission of Indigenous People (CDPIM), and the Mexican Commission for the Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH).
After the official inauguration of the Committee and its Advisory Group, the state government presented its baseline study on internal displacement and the secretariat of the committee shared a draft protocol for IDP assistance as well as a draft of the committee’s workplan to be approved. The Advisory Group helps link the profiling exercise and upcoming results to the wider institutional response and discussions, thus enhancing their relevance in the specific context of Chihuahua.
Mapping services as part of the data collection exercise
The Technical Working Group decided to carry out a service mapping in order to understand the current gaps in availability of services to IDPs and to identify opportunities for state organizations, legislation, etc. to improve their assistance to IDPs based on the upcoming results of the profiling exercise. The service mapping was initiated in 2021 and involves all 25 State Government agencies.