By October 12, 2018 the exodus from Central America to the United States has grown in complexity and continues to pose grave risks for the people on move, coming mainly from the north triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador). People from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are traveling by “caravans” through Mexico to reach the Mexican-USA border, to seek asylum due to social and political violence, drought and lack of economic opportunities given the high inequity and poverty in their countries. People on the move are growing in number, and the threat for their lives and properties have become severe brought on by gangs and traffickers The situation at each border, Guatemala, Mexico or USA, is more challenging due to the tightening of border control measures (e.g. at the Honduras-Mexico border), leading to cases of mass refoulement (migrants returned in huge numbers). Forthose that entered the United States are usually caught by border patrols and children are separated from their parents and sent to detention camps without any specific plans for reunification.
The purpose of this appeal is to initiate a humanitarian component to help meet the needs of people on the move, to promote legislation and policies that are in accordance with states’ human rights obligations, transparent, and to solicit the support from international community through the pertinent bodies of the United Nations. In addition, this measure seeks to guarantee the safety and physical integrity of migrants, especially minors, the elderly and women, and to prevent people from being deceived by international criminal organizations engaged in migrant smuggling, which endangers their lives, trying to have the families together and communicated. In this context, collecting information about rights violations, and providing evidence of CSO activities will be crucial for influencing a rights-based implementation of the Global Compacts for Migration and on Refugees in Central America and Mexico.
Demand for humanitarian assistance along the border is at a critical point. A US government policy introduced in June 2018, known as “Zero Tolerance”, exacerbated humanitarian needs by criminalizing irregular migration alongside restricting channels for forced migrants to cross the US-Mexico border and seek asylum legally. This has increased the number of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers in detention and has forcibly separated families, including parents and children. The US government’s ‘Return to Mexico’ policy is forcing migrants who have received a credible fear finding to return to Mexico while in asylum proceedings where there is no safety nor access to counsel. Increasing this trend, the recent US threat to impose tariffs if Mexico does not “curb” migration has led to additional repressive measures against migrants in Mexico. In addition, global migration increasingly brings persons on the move (with both regular and irregular status) from other parts of the world into the Americas regional corridor. En route migrants, in particular women and children, are exposed to increased protection risks including sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking and violence.