Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Mexico

Quick facts
Number of IDPs5,000-8,000
Percentage of total populationUp to 0.1%
Start of current displacement situation1994
Peak number of IDPs (Year)60,000 (1995)
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementInternal armed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index53

Up to 40,000 people were displaced in the 1990s in the Mexican state of Chiapas during an uprising by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the group's subsequent confrontations with government forces. OHCHR reported that between 3,000 and as many as 60,000 people were still internally displaced in 2003; and between 5,000 and 8,000 were reportedly still displaced in 2007 according to local NGOs. No new information on displacement in Chiapas was made available in 2009.

While the 1996 San Andrés Accords marked the end of the uprising, divisions within indigenous communities in Chiapas and also in Guerrero and Oaxaca States, based often on religious affiliation, have continued to cause violence and displacement. The Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), a body created by the government, reported that over 1,000 indigenous members of protestant minorities were displaced from nine districts during 2009.

The CDI reportedly concluded assessments of the situation of IDPs in Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Nayarit and Oaxaca States in 2009, but had not released its report by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, violence associated with turf battles between drug cartels in Ciudad Juárez in the northern state of Chihuahua escalated dramatically in 2009, causing tens of thousands of people to flee the city. Up to 200,000 people reportedly left Ciudad Juárez between 2007 and 2009 to escape violence which the local government had been unable to curb.

The situation of this population is largely unknown: those affected have not yet been identified as IDPs and provided with support. This may be due to the fact that their displacement was caused by generalised violence linked not to ideology or armed action against the state, but to control of drug routes by criminal groups. Those displaced were mostly middle-class workers who moved to safer cities such as Monterrey and Guadalajara, and possibly found opportunities in the place of displacement through family networks.


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