Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Central American Exodus: First Press Release from Caravan calls for Recognition of Humanitarian Crisis

Central American migrant exodus must be recognized as a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

[Versión original español]

First Press Release
November 12th, 2018 / Guadalajara, Mexico

Today marks 31 days of the historic exodus of Central Aamerican migrants, known as the “Migrant Caravan,” which departed from Honduran territory on October 13, 2018.

Our exodus is a consequence of forced displacement caused by the widespread systematic violence suffered by men, women, children and entire families who flee from poverty and impunity in our countries of origin.

The whole world is watching with great concern as more than 13 thousand people in Mexican territory advance towards the U.S. border. This monumental collective rejection of violence has reached the dimension of a humanitarian crisis.

In an exercise of autonomy as a displaced group, we named a delegation to dialogue with United Nations authorities in Mexico on behalf of the more than five thousand migrants housed at the shelter in Mexico City, Mexico. They are requesting the immediate application of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which commits States, among other things, to “improve cooperation in saving migrants' lives during their travels." In practical terms, this committment would best be fulfilled by guaranteeing buses so that we arrive safely to our final destination, thereby protecting women and children, who have to endure lower and lower temperatures, amongst other threats to their lives.

On November 8th, our delegation left on foot from the shelter in Mexico City, Mexico, accompanied by a mobilization of more than a thousand migrants that culminated at the office of the United Nations, where a meeting was held. In attendance were authorities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, and our commission comprised of 21 delegates from the migrant exodus: representatives from 17 of the 18 Honduran Departments, 1 delegate from the “19th Department” (Hondurans residing in the US), 3 representatives per Central American country (Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala), an observer from the organization Pueblos Sin Fronteras, a Human Rights observer, Mr.  Arturo Peimberg, Ombudsman from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, and a Honduran spokesperson, sociologist and journalist Milton Benitez.

WHEREAS:

  • The UN did not follow through in assuring a safe method of transportation to the final destination in order to “save the lives of migrants.”
  • The Commission on Human Rights in Mexico City has confirmed the disappearance of at least 100 people in Mexican territory.
  • There have been at least 3 Honduran deaths during the trip.
  • There are 24 pregnant women, 184 people with disabilities, 31 unaccompanied minors, 87 people from the LGBTQI community, and more than two thousand children travelling in the caravan.
  • There are now two victims of legal persecution and threats: Honduran journalists and a human rights defenders Bartolo Fuentes and Milton Benitez.
  • That this HUMANITARIAN CRISIS stems from factors outside of the control of citizens, namely the inability of the expelling States to protect the lives of their citizens, given that Honduras is one of the most violent and corrupt countries in the world and the poorest in Latin America.
  • That the United Nations and in particular United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have not lived up to their responsabilities and mandates by raising our exodus to the status of HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, as has taken place in relation to other countries such as Venezuela and Iraq. 


WE ASK THE UNITED NATIONS AND STATES AROUND THE WORLD:

  • That our exodus be recognized for exactly what it is - a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, so that a means of humanitarian intervention can be immediately established in order to guarantee the integrity, health and lives of those of us moving through Mexican territory. 
  • That, consequently, the UN, the UNHCR and the IOM, imediately apply the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration approved on March 13th, 2018, so that governments assume responsibility for the situation of people in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance. 
  • That, as has happened in other cases, the UNHCR encourage States to guarantee that we have free access to the territories and processes wherin our status as refugees can be determined, and ask the governments to adopt practical responses to protect us, such as offering legal status via temporary visas or residency permits as well as programs for normalizing status that guarantee access to the basic rights to healthcare, education, keeping families together, freedom of movement, shelter and the right to a job. 
  • That the UN encourage the signatory countries to make costs and requirements flexible as needed in order to guarantee access to the aforementioned rights. 
  • That, in light of the situation in the Central American and Latin American expelling states, the people not be deported or forced to return.

Let us remember that the first Global Compact for Migration, adopted in the United Nations, “the shared understanding by Governments that cross-border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all,” as UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres has stated.

We inform the national and international community that, in the case that the UN, the UNHCR and the IOM continue to reduce the magnitude of the Central American diaspora by not treating it as a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, we would find ourselves unable to recognize and forced to reject any accompaniment coming from these institutions, due to their doube standard.

We thank Mrs. Nashieli Ramírez Hernández, President of the Human Rights Commission in Mexico City and the team of civil society organiations led by Father Alejandro Solalinde; for the timely reception they organized for us to be able to heal and rest in that city, along with Mr. Arturo Peimberg, Ombudsman of the State of Oaxaca and our fellow compatriot Milton Benítez who we have embraced as our Human Rights defenders in Mexican territory and in the world.

To conclude, we want to thank the local authorities who acted with solidarity and without discrimination, and especially thank the community members, our Guatemalan and Mexican sisters and brothers who have offered us food, water, shelter and dignified treatment, supplanting the work that should be carried out by institutions and governments.

Written in the city of Guadalajara, State of Jalisco, Republic of Mexico, on the 12th day of the month of November in the year of 2018.

CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRANT EXODUS FOR LIFE
On the path… with dignity!

7 comments:

  1. Thankyou! For writing and publishing this article, for all those who participated in the organization of such a delegation, and for bringing awareness and assisting this Humanitarian Crisis. I watch and listen and feel ashamed of my America, for some of the selfish and unwelcoming attitudes that are projected onto the South American refugees and migrants...especially these most recent movements. I pledge to convey empathy, compassion, comfort and whatever help I can extend to those who are courageously making this journey. With hope and a sturdy vehicle, I plan to pack what excess supplies I have (as a single mom living in poverty I don't have much...but it is still more than these migrants have, and I wish to share) making the trek from Minnesota next week and distributing to those in need. I can't change the whole system, nor do I seek to make decisions regarding Immigration...but to just be a purposeful Human Being and offer care to those children and familes. May God bless us all.

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  2. PS Please forgive me (as a typical USAmerican-not-so-geographically-informed individual) I INcorrectly identified the current migrants being from South America when my commentary was to have reflected my alliance with the purpose of this article and the worthy work regarding the Central American Migrant Exodus For Life. Thankyou

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    1. And what do you say now, they they were offered https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/migrant-caravan-members-reject-offer-stay-mexico-n925171?fbclid=IwAR1mYihiJDLvj2aAHnGxX63rqd602K3LMLt8VX56zUp0yHHXJKWAf3FybWQ .. and they rejected the offer?

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  3. I am one of several Quebec Canadians searching for a means by which we can bring central American refugees to Canada. There is a manpower shortage in our area and it is our intention to support families and single persons who are ready to commit themselves to our way of life, beginning with getting an education and acquiring work experience. We successfully settled two Syrian families in our village in recent years through private sponsorship and we can do the same for central americans. Our membership includes Spanish speakers. Please comment.

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  4. More than 180 pregnant women, handicapped or disabled, whoever organized this debacle should be responsible for the deaths and whatever hardships these refugees endure. If an American citizen walked their kids from Texas to Detroit they'd be in jail, keeping families together is great but on the real we Americans have accepted the reality of separation thru divorce or other as life in the city. These refugees I think are expecting too much and if they really wanted all they ask for they'd stay and fight thru organization in their countries of origin, without a doubt people die in the fight but without sacrifice nothing will ever change.

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