On Tuesday, March 22, Equidad, a partner organization of the Civil Society Support Program, held a virtual event on migration and the rights of children and adolescents, bringing together specialists on the subject from Latin America.

In this activity, the publication “Exploring the challenges in terms of state architecture and budget for a migration governance with a focus on children and adolescents: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru” was presented.

Olenka Ochoa, author of the study, explained the scope and findings of the research. Also on the panel were: Verónica Valdivieso, Director of Save the Children in Peru, Otto Rivera, Executive Secretary of CIPRODENI Guatemala, and Rodolfo Mendoza, Director of Equidad’s Public Resources and Human Rights Program. Also present were Ann Linnarsson, Director of Save the Children’s Civil Society Support Program, and part of her technical team, as well as other specialists from Save the Children and other specialists from the region.

During the debate, emphasis was placed on the complexity of cross-border migration processes involving El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and the Venezuelan exodus that has arrived in Peru on its way south. In both circumstances, migration crises are experienced, and it is the children and adolescents who face the most dramatic circumstances.

The study highlights the increasingly visible presence of children and adolescents who travel with family or friends, or are unaccompanied migrants. According to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, in 2021 alone, more than 40,000 migrant children and adolescents from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were registered. According to U.S. authorities, between 2015-2020, more than 265 thousand children and adolescents from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico were registered.

Against this backdrop, one of the conclusions of the study is that Migration Governance is precarious. In all four countries, efforts are being made to build a state architecture based on norms, policies, plans and institutions. However, this framework, which attempts to respond to the migratory crisis, does not go hand in hand with a sufficient budget allocation. At this point, the channeling of resources from international cooperation initiatives to the four countries is notorious. The institutional framework and budget is even more limited when it comes to caring for children and adolescents in a situation of migration.

Migration governance at the local level is not well developed in the four countries. It is also noted that the competent authorities and the interventions proposed do not take into account the migration cycle and its stages (origin, transit, destination and return) and the conditions faced by children and adolescents that put their fundamental rights at risk.

It should be noted that the document maps the needs and violated rights of children and adolescents in a cross-border migration situation, and based on this, a proposal is made for municipal intervention, taking into account the migration cycle, with a view to localizing migration governance.

Finally, it should be noted that with this activity, the Peru Equity Center kicked off the cycle of working meetings of the Latin American Regional Dialogue on Investment in Children for the year 2022.