Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their country of origin due to war, violence and persecution, and who seek protection in another country. If you are afraid of returning to your country because your life is at risk, you could be a refugee.
In Mexico, the Law on Refugees, Complementary Protection and Political Asylum defines refugees as persons who:
- Are afraid of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, gender, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion;
- Are outside of their country of nationality and don’t have the protection of their country;
- Have fled their country because their life, security or liberties have been threatened by widespread violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive breach of human rights, or other circumstances that have severely disrupted the public order.
Refugees could have experienced directly, or feel they risk experiencing in the future, any of the following situations:
- Extortion, harassment, intimidation, physical or sexual violence from gangs or armed groups:
- For refusing to cooperate or become a member;
- For refusing to pay war taxes or their dues;
- For refusing to become partners of people related to criminal groups;
- For being witnesses to a crime committed by these groups;
- Discrimination, threats, physical aggression on the basis of their religion or beliefs, political ideas, nationality or race;
- Physical violence, harassment, sexual violence on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expressions, for example, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex persons from a collective (LGBTI);
- Bullying, threats, physical or sexual violence from their partner, former partner, family members, or others;
- Being victims of housing occupation dispossession of land or other property;
- Being forced into prostitution or marriage;
- Having their life, liberties, or security threatened due to armed conflicts, serious situations of violence, or insecurity.
In Mexico, the agency responsible for receiving and processing refugee status applications is the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR).