Church officials silenced for speaking in favour of migrant rights

Rest stops for migrants operated by Roman Catholic priests across Mexico are coming under attack from top Church officials after centre directors criticised Mexican government policies on Central American migrants.

The most recent case is that of Father Alejandro Solalinde, the Mexican priest who ran Hermanos en el Camino (Brothers in the Road), a rest stop in the state of Oaxaca. Solalinde, who recently returned from two months of forced exile after receiving death threats from organised crime groups, was ordered by the Bishop of Tehuantepec, Oscar Armando Campos, to stop his work with migrants. Solalinde said the Bishop objected to his public statements in the media in support of migrants who face harassment from not only organised crime groups, but also local government and police officials. Local residents have also criticised the centres, whose rest stops draw large groups of the mostly male Central-American migrants. A political backlash has forced Bishop Armando Campos to clarify that he never told Solalinde to leave the centre.