Andrea Fernández Aponte, Program Associate
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April 3, 2018
LAWG Launches Report, Warns Conditions Driving Migrant Caravan Persist
Washington, D.C.—Today, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) released, Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place, a report comprised of a series of blog posts written between October 2017 and March 2018 on the intersection of human rights, migration, corruption, and public security in Honduras and El Salvador. The report puts forth evidence that the dangers propelling children, teenagers, women, and men from those countries to seek refuge in the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere have not ended.
The latest caravan organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras is a reflection of these conditions fueling forced displacement from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, including the brutal repression facing citizens in Honduras following last year’s fraudulent elections.
“The United States should have cut off all military aid to Honduras due to the brutal killings of people by Honduran security forces, most by the Military Police, who were protesting against electoral fraud after the contested November 2017 elections. What President Trump should not do is threaten to cut all of Honduras’ aid because he wants the Honduran government to illegally block people from fleeing the country due to violence and political repression,” said Lisa Haugaard, executive director of LAWG. “We are reaping what we sow in Honduras: a failure of the international community including the United States to take a strong stance against repression is intensifying the human rights crisis in the country and contributing to the outflow of refugees.”
This caravan follows a tradition that has been taking place for many years to highlight the right of freedom of mobility and individuals’ rights to seek international protection. It does not represent a massive influx of people or a security threat–border crossings are at record lows. Contrary to what President Trump has also stated, the Mexican government has maintained a consistent level of apprehensions and deportation of migrants, mostly from Central America, with U.S. support, through the implementation of its Programa Frontera Sur for the past few years. Its deportations for the first two months of 2018 surpass those from the same period in 2017. The number of asylum applications that Mexico has received, mostly from the Northern Triangle countries has also quadrupled in the last 3 years. Last year it received over 14,000, though half of those remain in process due to delays and obstacles.
“The U.S. should not be pressuring Mexico to step up its migration enforcement like it has in the past at the cost of offering those fleeing persecution a chance to make their claims heard. It is not illegal to seek asylum and due process should be upheld. The Mexican government, for its part, should not send people back to their death and instead uphold its responsibility under international and national law to screen and recognize people’s concerns. Doing otherwise will only leave families, individuals, and children between a wall and a dangerous place and fuel the vicious cycle of displacement and migration,” said LAWG Senior Associate Daniella Burgi-Palomino.