Jump to content Jump to footer
Central AmericaMexico

Assistance and rights access for migrants in Tapachula, Mexico

In 2021, more than 130,000 asylum applications were filed in Mexico, making it the third country in the world with the most applications. About 90,000 of these cases were initiated in the city of Tapachula, in the department of Chiapas (WOLA 2021). The city is now known as a "prison city" for migrants and asylum seekers. The Fray Matías Human Rights Center works to strengthen access to rights and services for people in diverse contexts of mobility, with an emphasis on women and girls, in Tapachula.

We defend rights, we forge paths

Tapachula has become the largest funnel of migrants in the Americas, receiving the largest number of people in mobility from South American countries, Central America and Haiti. These migrants, most of them victims of forced migration, arrive in Tapachula in search of refuge or safe mobility that will allow them to meet their family or friends in other parts of Mexico or the United States.

Although there are governmental programs for migratory regularization such as the granting of cards for humanitarian reasons and access to refugee status, the high concentration of people in the context of human mobility in Tapachula leads to an overload on institutional capacities. Migrants are stranded for months in the city waiting for a turn to be attended by the relevant offices.

In 2019, the Mexican government formalized the militarization of migration policy with the creation of the National Guard Law and later with the implementation of the Migration and Development Plan of the Federal Government of Mexico. This caused the shelters of the National System for the Integral Development of Families (DIF) to become detention spaces from where deportations are carried out to the different countries of origin.


Our partner, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías, has been accompanying migrants and refugees arriving in Tapachula individually and collectively for 25 years. In the beginning, women domestic workers from border towns in Guatemala were its main beneficiaries. For the past five years, the offer has been extended to families, men, children and adolescents.

The project, funded by AWO International, which Fray Matías will carry out, focus on access to rights and services for people in contexts of mobility in Tapachula. Special emphasis is placed on women and girls, who are often the ones who have suffered violence from their communities of origin due to the effects of the patriarchal system in which they live. During the migratory route they are the ones who are most at risk of suffering physical and/or sexual aggression and being victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In addition, experience shows that they have been trained to be caregivers, therefore, access to their own rights and/or services take second place.

Structurally, gender violence is materialized in the difficulty for women to complete the processes of refuge, migratory regularization, complaints or any other process that implies having greater mobility or access to jobs because they do not have another person to care for their children, suffer domestic violence by their partners or have job segregation that sexualizes and eroticizes the origins of these women.


The project is implemented with the organization of different safe participatory spaces such as a Women's Collective and a Children and Adolescents Collective, where different activities are carried out to promote rights, exchange of knowledge and reflections on structural violence. A Men's Collective will also be created, where talks will be held on "new masculinities" to recognize learned gender-based violence.

In addition, Women's and Children's Trust Groups is strengthened, coordinated by psychologists from the organization, for women and children in the context of migration, victims of gender-based violence.

Finally, in order to achieve a long-term change in the access to rights of migrants in Tapachula, CDH Fray Matías actively participates in different Inter-institutional Roundtables, where it seeks to influence the attention to people in contexts of mobility in public institutions, together with other civil society organizations, service and rights providers, and community actors.


Project Strengthening access to rights and services for people in diverse contexts of mobility through social and community integration, with emphasis on women and girls, in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico.
Place/Region México Chiapas: Municipality of Tapachula and nearby communities
Partner Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova A.C. - CDH Fray Matías
Target group 800 people - 360 women; 440 men People from different backgrounds, in the context of mobility, who come to the participation spaces of the Fray Matías Human Rights Center.
  • Individual and group case management
  • Reflection groups
  • Rights education
  • Activities to promote the rights of migrant children, women and men.
  • Advocacy
Duration 05.2023-2024
Budget 140.000€ in total
Sponsor BMZ

Cookie consent

AWO International e.V. uses cookies to ensure the smooth functioning of our platform (technically necessary cookies). In addition, we ask for your consent to the use of cookies for analysis purposes and improvement of the platform (statistical cookies).