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October 17, 2018
LAWG: Migrant Caravan a Reflection of Insecurity, Corruption, & Impunity in Honduras; U.S. & Mexican Authorities Should Respect Human Rights of Individuals
Washington D.C.—The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) urges U.S., Mexican and Central American authorities to respect the human rights of the individuals forming a part of the migrant caravan from Honduras. The caravan is a reflection of the conditions of insecurity, corruption, and impunity in Honduras that we have documented in our report, Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place. In addition, the repression of Honduran citizens by security forces following fraudulent elections last year, has likely fueled forced displacement and migration of its citizens.
“The United States should have denounced the killings of protesters and suspended military aid to Honduras at the first news that Honduran security forces, mainly the Military Police, brutally killed those protesting against electoral fraud after the contested November 2017 elections. What President Trump should not do is threaten to cut needed assistance for violence prevention, job training, and sustainable rural development, programs intended to address the root causes of forced migration, because he wants the Honduran government to illegally block people from fleeing the country due to violence, poverty, and political repression,” said Lisa Haugaard, 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 which is intensifying the human rights crisis in the country and contributing to the outflow of refugees.”
This caravan does not represent a massive influx of people or a security threat. The children, families, and individuals forming a part of the caravan should not be criminalized. Under international law, all individuals have the right to due process and to seek asylum where they feel safe. As direct testimonies provided by the media have already shown, many on the caravan have come fleeing violence in Honduras. Last year, Honduras remained among the top four countries in the hemisphere with the highest levels of homicides. Levels of internal displacement also increased last year; the most-cited reason for being forced to move remained threats and assassinations from gangs.
“The United States should stop criminalizing individuals who seek protection and threatening to deter migrants by separating families or detaining children indefinitely. Individuals who are fleeing a life or death situation have no choice, and they should not be sent back to danger. 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 children, families, and individuals between a wall and a dangerous place and fuel the vicious cycle of displacement and migration,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, senior associate for LAWG.