We call on the States of Latin America and the Caribbean to promote and ensure the inclusion and social integration of children, adolescents and their families in situations of migration.

We call on the States of Latin America and the Caribbean to promote and ensure the inclusion and social integration of children, adolescents and their families in situations of migration.

International Migrants Day

December 18, 2020.- Migration in Latin American and Caribbean countries is one of the main characteristics of the region. In 2019 alone, there were more than 30 million people from these countries living in North America (26.6 million) and Europe (5 million)[1].

In fact, the United States is the main country-to-country migration corridor in the world, mostly transited by people on the move from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru are also countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants[2].

In particular, Mexico is the second country in the world -after India- with 12 million citizens living outside its borders, mainly in the United States[3]. Mexico is followed by Venezuela and Colombia, the main countries of origin of migrants in South America, with 5.4 and 2.9 million people respectively[4].

The specific case of Venezuela has represented a major migrant and refugee crisis, with the displacement of 1.7 million Venezuelans living in Colombia[5], and the rest in 17 other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States and Europe.

On the other hand, the risks and effects associated with migrant children and adolescents have increased considerably due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, hindering their access to rights such as education, health, food and housing, affecting their normal development and exposing them to greater risks such as human trafficking, gender-based violence, among others associated with the lack of timely comprehensive protection.

Likewise, social distancing and confinement as COVID-19 containment measures further complicate the conditions for promoting and implementing dynamics of recognition and respect for different cultural expressions, generating greater challenges for social inclusion and integration.

This, coupled with a lack of understanding and empathy, has led to the violation of human rights and the impossibility of intercultural integration, causing harmful effects that are manifested in physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral dimensions, especially in the lives of children and adolescents.

However, these discriminatory and xenophobic behaviors not only affect the people in the situation, but also the receiving communities, affecting the environment and eroding the social fabric.

To combat xenophobia, the undersigned organizations launched the regional campaign #MiTierraEsTuTierra with the objective of preventing discrimination and fostering tolerance by recognizing that the particularities of each country and each migrant enrich communities rather than divide them.

Finally, on the commemoration of International Migrants Day, we call on States to comply with their obligation to respect and guarantee the human rights of all persons in their territory and under their jurisdiction, without discrimination of any kind. These are some of the recommendations:

  1. Ensure that children and adolescents in a situation of migration have immediate access to their rights under equal conditions, particularly to identity, education, health, decent housing, special protection, among other rights, through the implementation of programs that take into consideration the particular needs of migrants;
  1. Strengthen the National Protection Systems to provide timely and comprehensive services to children and adolescents in a situation of migration with follow-up on their return;
  1. That the States have protocols and standards for the protection of children and adolescents in situations of migration, and articulate their actions based on the resolutions of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights aimed at guaranteeing their rights in the context of a pandemic;
  1. Consider the migrant population in national programs for social development, social assistance, health, education, labor, as well as psychological care and mental health protection, among others;
  1. Promote social cohesion in the communities through fairs, entrepreneurship projects, recreational and leisure activities, art and sports, spaces for cultural exchange and social integration. Likewise, propose community projects aimed at recovering public spaces or improving the urban or rural environment with the active participation of the migrant population;
  1. Adopt measures, even of a temporary nature, to promote migratory regularization that would facilitate socioeconomic integration in the host countries, thus creating the conditions for migrants to contribute to the development and economic reactivation of the host countries; and
  1. Provide opportunities for the relocation of migrants to locations with employment and development possibilities, in order to relieve those communities with large populations of migrants.

Therefore, we invite society to join the campaign and spread it through social networks. Let’s reject intolerance and xenophobia! Let us speak out in favor of the inclusion and social integration of migrants!

Partner Organizations of Save the Children’s Civil Society Support Program in Latin America and the Caribbean

[1] International Organization for Migration (2020), World Migration Report 2020. Available at: https://publications.iom.int/books/informe-sobre-las-migraciones-en-el-mundo-2020.

[2] Idem.

[3] Idem.

[4] Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. Available at: https://r4v.info/es/situations/platform

[5] Idem.