Updated 24/05/2021

The proliferation of criminal organisations in Mexico that display increasingly aggressive behaviour is spreading across the whole country. The increasing spread of such violence appears to be linked to fragmentation in criminal groups that followed the breakup of the large crime cartels resulting from law enforcement agency operations.

Not all violence can be ascribed to convolutions of organised crime. Several vigilante groups, set up to protect communities from criminal predators, not only clash with criminal groups but, in seizing territory and resorting to extreme violence, some of these autodefensas have started to resemble criminals themselves.

2021 Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) Report

The SHCC identified 16 incidents of violence against or obstruction of health care in Mexico in 2020. Health workers were killed and health facilities raided in these incidents. Mexico also saw some of the highest numbers of COVID-19-related violence against health care.

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Health Care

In 2020 health workers working for national health providers bore the burden of the negative impact of violence against or obstruction of health care in Mexico. Doctors, nurses, and paramedics were shot and killed and in some cases their bodies were left by the roadside. Guerrero state- one of the areas frequently affected by increasingly violent conflicts between organised criminal groups – saw the most attacks. In Guerrero, Sonora and Veracruz states hospitals were also stormed by armed groups and patients killed in suspected targeted attacks. Data

Our Global Interactive Map on Threats and Violence against Health Care provides access to continuously updated information on violence against health care in conflict and related to COVID-19.


In 2020, educators and students were attacked, killed and injured mainly by unidentified armed groups, riot police, or armed groups wearing military uniforms. Attacks occurred mainly in the south of Mexico, in Puebla state, Chiapas state, Oaxaca state, Veracruz state, Guerrero state as well as in Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City).

Teachers were threatened before being kidnapped and attacked. Students were injured during protests near a school by riot police attempting to clear a road blocked by the protesting students.