October 6, 2020
Contact: Lauri Alvarez, Program Associate
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LAWGEF: Closing space for Honduran citizens, alongside pandemic, poverty, corruption, and violence, fuel latest migrant caravan from Honduras
Washington D.C.–As the latest migrant caravan from Honduras has just been turned back by Guatemalan authorities, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) releases a new brief detailing how the impact of the pandemic, corruption, violence, and the closure of space for Honduran citizens fuel migration from Honduras. The brief outlines the ways in which the closure of space and the impacts of the pandemic have exacerbated these conditions and restricted the ability of Honduran citizens to organize and express their views to create a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities, and to build a responsive democracy.
“Without jobs, facing violence and the pandemic, Hondurans are further robbed of hope by a government that lines its own pockets, fails to meet basic needs, and harshly limits its citizens’ ability to organize for change,” said LAWGEF co-director Lisa Haugaard.
LAWGEF urges the United States and the governments of the region to respect the rights of people to seek international protection where they feel safe. We are concerned by the militarized response from the Guatemalan government to the migrant caravan and Guatemalan President Giammattei’s statements requesting the removal of staff from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at the Guatemala-Honduras border. Instead, governments should work with international and civil society organizations to process and allow asylum seekers to make their claims for protection. In the longer-term, the United States must adopt a new vision that restores the right to seek asylum and protects immigrants rights. It must also urge Central American governments to serve and protect their people–and the U.S. government should take a stand, not with corrupt government officials, but with the people and organizations working for change.
Read the full brief here.