For Immediate Release Since militarization was implemented on the U.S.-México border in the mid-1990s, it has been estimated that more than 3,000 men, women and children have lost their lives in their attempt to seek a better future for themselves and their families. As a non-profit human rights organization, Coalición de Derechos Humanos/Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras is deeply concerned about these continued deaths. We are particularly disturbed by those deaths that have resulted from attempts to cross our desert—deaths due to exposure and heat related, specifically. These are tragedies, and we feel that such a human rights crisis needs a viable solution.
In order to alert our government and the public as to the true extent of these casualties, accurate numbers of deaths must be recorded. Currently, conflicting numbers are constantly being released, mostly because of the complicated nature of recovering and identifying individuals who often carry little or no identification with them, and because the lack of communications between the many agencies to which this information is passed.
Derechos Humanos began a concerted attempt to keep a more accurate record of migrants who have died on our borders last spring in the hope that a more accurate count of the casualties of border policies will bring about change. With the cooperation of the Pima, Yuma, and Cochise County Medical Examiner offices, as well as the Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary and the Consular offices of Honduras and Guatemala, we began the task of keeping an independent count of migrant deaths.
The migrant death list is available to the community on the Derechos Humanos website: www.derechoshumanosaz.net. The information will be updated on a monthly basis, as we receive monthly reports from medical examiner offices. We will use this information in order to keep a more accurate record of the deaths and to show the true extent of the casualties of failed border policies. This information will be available to anyone who requests it from us and will be used by our organization to further raise awareness of the human rights crisis we are facing on our borders.
In the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2004, the total number of migrant deaths that have occurred in Arizona reached an alarming 151 deaths by June 30, 2005. The current heat wave has put Arizona on pace to break the record number of deaths for the last fiscal year, which Coalición de Derechos Humanos/Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras compiled at 234.
Until the true cost of our border and immigration policies are weighed, and viable solutions sought, Arizonans will continue to witness the tragedy of hundreds of our migrant sisters and brothers losing their lives on the border.
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