Central American migrant caravan: girls must be prioritised

Report
from Plan International
Published on 26 Oct 2018 View Original

Plan International is urgently calling for the needs of the thousands of children displaced from Honduras to be prioritised, with particular attention given to the needs of girls.

In the past 10 days, a group of 7,233 Hondurans left their country to travel through Guatemala and Mexico to the United States, including 2,377 girls and boys, according to official sources. This brings the total number of Honduran migrants who have left this year to 14,000.

Plan International is concerned that many children are currently staying in insecure areas, placing them at heightened risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Displaced girls and young women face particular risks due to their age and gender – and often become easy targets of violations of their rights such as sexual violence.

RISK OF SEPARATION

Children and young people of all genders are also at risk of being separated from their parents at national borders.

Belinda Portillo, Country Director of Plan International Honduras, said: “All children and young people displaced from Honduras are entitled to all the rights guaranteed to them by international human rights and international humanitarian law, regardless of their migration status or reasons for moving.

“It is critical that receiving States prioritise a rights-based approach in their migration policies. We call on the governments of Guatemala, Mexico and the United States to ensure that under no circumstances is a child separated from their family.

“They must also ensure their migration policies are gender and age-sensitive, taking into account the different experiences and needs of girls, boys, women and men, including the specific vulnerabilities of adolescent girls.”

SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Plan International’s response to this crisis has focused on providing psychosocial support and medical attention to women and unaccompanied children who are returning to Honduras, as well as assisting them with transport to their communities, where appropriate.

Official sources indicate that 1,107 of those who left in recent days have returned, among them 126 girls and boys. Since 2014, more than 42,000 migrant children and young people have returned to Honduras.

“We remain committed to monitoring this displacement crisis and will continue working with States, civil society organisations and the United Nations to provide humanitarian assistance for displaced children and their families,” Cobar said. “Solutions are urgently needed that guarantee their survival and wellbeing.”