World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Child migrants need ‘compassionate solutions’ – Ban

Easing plight of child migrants fleeing Central America requires ‘compassionate solutions’ – Ban

16 July 2014

Deeply concerned by the “urgent humanitarian situation” of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for Governments of countries where the children start, continue or finish their journeys, to protect their dignity and human rights.

“Unaccompanied minors, including those under seven years of age, are making this dangerous journey, often relying on unscrupulous human smuggling networks that expose them to harm, exploitation and abuse,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Conference on Unaccompanied Child Migrants, in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.

The message was delivered by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Consuelo Vidal, on behalf of Mr. Ban, who is currently wrapping-up a visit to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In addition to the UN and Honduras, the two-day international conference, which kicked of today, includes representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, as well as the Organization of American States (OAS).

According to information from the Honduran officials, there were 2,700 Honduran migrant children in the United States last September. By June of this year, there were more than 13,000. In all, an estimated 52,000 children were caught crossing the United States border since October, most of them from Central America, based on figures in media reports.

Last year, the UN held a high-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development to identify concrete measures to strengthen cooperation and enhance the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries, while reducing its negative implications.

In its unanimously adopted declaration document, the 193 Member States “reaffirmed the need to promote and protect effectively the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, especially those of women and children.”

Citing this passage, Mr. Ban issued a plea for compassionate and comprehensive ways to ease the plight of child migrants: “I therefore call upon the Governments of the countries concerned, whether of origin, transit or destination, to urgently protect the human rights of migrant children, most importantly their life and physical integrity as laid out in relevant international legal standards.”

Raising concerns about human trafficking of minors, Mr. Ban called for the sensitizing both parents and children about the dangers of “irregular, un-planned migration” and about relying too often on inaccurate claims and information.

He also noted the importance of better understanding and addressing the root causes behind the current phenomenon.

Poverty and inequality are longstanding issues in the region, he said, but we need to also grapple with insecurity and the role of criminal groups thriving in contexts of weak institutions, poor rule of law and impunity.

“Leaders from Central America have drawn repeated attention to this security challenge and have requested international support,” Mr. Ban said in his message. “We must all recognize that we have a vested interest in providing such support.”

As the plight of unaccompanied minors from Central America arriving at the US border continues to spark debate, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently issued its latest report,Children on the Run, which unveils the humanitarian impact of the situation by analyzing the reasons that 404 unaccompanied children gave to a team of researchers for why they left their homes. The report also makes recommendations for a way forward.

Just last week, the agency expressed concern over the rising number of children and families leaving their home countries in Central America and urged all countries in the region to adopt a robust humanitarian response that is based on fundamental protection principles. This response, UNHCR said, should include efforts to address the root causes of this movement; to prevent and respond to human trafficking; and to meet the needs of those children who may be victims of persecution or torture.

“We recognize the enormous challenges facing the US and other countries as a result of this large movement of people,” said Shelly Pitterman, UNHCR’s Regional Representative in the United States. “We’re witnessing a complex situation in which children are leaving home for a variety of reasons, including poverty, the desire to join family, and the growing influence of trafficking networks.”

And as indicated in the UNHCR study, within this movement there re also children who are fleeing situations of violence at the hands of transnational organized criminal groups and powerful local gangs.

UNHCR therefore urged a comprehensive response aimed at preventing the need for such movement and addressing the best interests of the children who have already left. Development agencies, human rights actors, and donor Governments must help the countries of Central America analyze and address the poverty, lawlessness, and other factors that force people to seek a better life or to escape harm. At the same time, children who have been trafficked or who fear persecution or torture need to be given the opportunity to tell their stories and have their best interests determined.
“Those fleeing violence and persecution,” said Ms. Pitterman, “will require access to asylum determination procedures and will need long-term protection. Others will be able to return home and should be assisted with re-integration.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news