Launch of the #MigrarSinVigilancia Latin American Coalition

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Over 25 civil society organizations have joined to create the #MigrarSinVigilancia Latin American Coalition, whose main purpose is to demand the protection of migrants’ human rights by safeguarding their personal data and privacy across the region.

With ever-increasing frequency and intensity, governments are enabling the use of technologies to surveil migrants, asylum seekers, and other people on the move. This intensive surveillance is often conducted under the concept of “smart borders” as a more humanitarian notion to streamline the management of borders, although its implementation oftentimes harms migrants.

The lack of transparency in surveillance practices, governmental processes, and regional collaboration, along with the lack of effective spaces where migrants can make decisions about the processing of their data, including border crossing information, undermine their human rights. This hampers access to justice and accountability, resulting in the impunity of the harmful impact of such practices on migrants’ human rights.

The organizations that make up the #MigrarSinVigilancia Coalition see as a cause for concern the use of automated and semi-automated decision-making, “predictive” technologies, and interoperable databases with geolocalization capabilities. These and other arbitrary practices in migration processes affect the migratory future and, consequently, the lives of thousands of migrants.

Migrants’ migratory future can be severely affected by the decisions made based on invasive and excessive personal data collection from multiple sources and, often, without consent. The hyper-surveillance of migrants is a form of criminalization. Ángela Alarcón, Latin America & the Caribbean Campaigner at Access Now.

The Coalition urges all States in the Americas, as well as companies and organizations that provide cross-border monitoring technologies and services to:

  1. Protect migrants’ human rights, including, but not limited to, the right to migrate and seek asylum, the right to not be separated from their family, and the right to due process, and consent, by protecting their personal data.
  2. Recognize the mental, emotional, and legal impact of surveillance on migrants and other people who are on the move.
  3. Safeguard human rights against monitoring and surveillance technologies in migration controls.
  4. Conduct a human rights impact assessment related to technologies already being used in migration controls.
  5. Refrain from using and prohibit the use of technologies in migration controls that inherently or severely harm migrants’ human rights.
  6. Strengthen their efforts to achieve an effective remedy for abuse, accountability, and transparency from authorities and the private sector, including, but not limited to, implementing the measures needed so that governments, companies and other players who use technology and collect data in migratory contexts protect and responsibly manage migrants’ personal data.
Faced with the challenges posed by an increasingly complex, diverse and dynamic migratory context, the use of intensive surveillance technologies diversifies and deepens the conditions of risk and inequality faced by immigrants. Therefore, demanding the guarantee of the right to the protection of their personal data and privacy is essential to ensure their comprehensive protection. MARGARITA NÚÑEZ, COORDINATOR OF THE MIGRATION AFFAIRS PROGRAM OF THE IBEROAMERICAN UNIVERSITY

The Coalition is setting up a website where it will upload relevant updates on this topic. For more information, please visit this link.

#MigrarSinVigilancia Latin American Coalition – Participating organizations

  • Access Now
  • Al Otro Lado
  • Asociación Colectivo Vida Digna
  • Artists at Risk Connection – PEN America
  • Barracón Digital, Honduras Casa de Acogida, Formación y Empoderamiento para Mujeres y Familias Migrantes y Refugiadas (CAFEMIN)
  • Centro LATAM Digital
  • Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
  • Cooperativa Sulá Batsú, (Costa Rica)
  • Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)
  • Derechos Humanos Integrales en Acción, AC
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • FLACSO Guatemala
  • Fundación Huaira
  • Hospitalidad y Solidaridad A.C.
  • Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos, ILDA
  • Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia A.C.
  • International Refugee Assistance Project 
  • LV Acompañamiento y Arte por los Derechos de las Mujeres, A.C., (Las Vanders)
  • Movilidades Libres y Elegidas, A.C. (CoLibres)
  • Programa de Asuntos Migratorios de la Universidad Iberoamericana CDMX
  • Red de Desarrollo Sostenible – Honduras (RDS-HN) 
  • Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
  • Red Jesuita a Refugiados (México)
  • Red Jesuita con Migrantes de Guatemala
  • Servicio Jesuita para Migrantes Costa Rica
  • SocialTIC
  • Sursiendo, Comunicación y Cultura Digital
  • Voces Mesoamericanas Acción con Pueblos Migrantes AC

Participating individuals

  • Brenda Murrugarra Retamozo
  • Samantha Hernández Cerón
  • Victor Andres Flores Sanchez
  • Vladimir Cortés Roshdestvensky