Toward Ending Child Detention in Mexico
Rights and Opportunities Foundation is partnering with Asylum Access to help end the detention of migrant and refugee children in Mexico. Read about this 2018 project HERE.
Children as Refugees and Migrants
The Rights and Opportunities Foundation is helping to support Dr. Lynne Jones, child psychiatrist, experienced humanitarian, scholar and author, to bring to public attention the lives of migrant and refugee children. Read about her work and see the children’s stories and photos HERE.
Addressing Violence Against Children in Central America
The Foundation supports humanitarian work focused on the rights of children. There is now a crisis of refugees fleeing the violence in Central America.
Since 2014 we in the US do not hear so much of the child migrant crisis. The US instigated Southern Border Plan has pressured Mexico to stop the flow of migrants and refugees to the US border and while the numbers of migrants deported rose sharply under the Obama administration there are fewer now getting to the border.
This does not mean the problem has been solved, or even addressed. The violence and deaths in the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have increased and are now greater than in any countries not at war and poverty and inequality remain prevalent. The Central American governments are doubly failing to protect their citizens: socioeconomic conditions remain poor and an increasingly violent environment permeates every corner of their countries, which causes people to flee in record numbers. Please see the references below, including the recent report from Amnesty International for more detailed information about the causes and effects of migration and especially the consequences of governments failing to provide protection to those who are deported back to the same dangerous climates from which they ran. It is becomingly increasingly common for child migrants, deported from the US and Mexico, to be murdered on their return to Honduras and El Salvador.
The human rights violations include failure to recognize that many of these “migrants” are truly refugees, fleeing for their lives, and they have the right to protection. Additionally, Mexico and the US really are overwhelmed by the numbers coming and have inadequate shelter and infrastructure to house, protect and process applications for amnesty. It is a violation of human rights and international law to send refugees back to the countries they fled if their lives are at risk there and this is occurring frequently.
There is, additionally, a custom of beating children and physical chastisement in countries of the Northern Triangle. Children are routinely beaten by gangs, in the schools and at home and this contributes to the numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the north.
The Rights and Opportunities Foundation recognizes that it is this violence that leads to many social problems in Latin America and with consequences in Mexico the United States as well as to the many who have been victims.
The solution to the children immigration crisis in Latin America and the United States is not to build walls or deport families and children back to countries where their lives are at risk, but to change the patterns of violence that makes children feel unsafe in their homes. Clearly, authorities must bring gangs under control, economic development must provide alternate opportunities for those now involved in gangs. And, more acutely, those fleeing violence must be protected and given a chance to live and to succeed. For this to happen the world must be informed of the scale of the problem and implement political action.
The Foundation will continue its work to support the needs of refugees and migrants around the world and bring to the public eye conditions that must change.
Additionally, models have been created for community interventions to change this pattern of violence in Northern Triangle nations and the Foundation will bring these interventions into the communities where conditions of poverty, social inequality and isolation contribute to violence to children.
Leading Resources for Children’s Rights:
- Children and Violence in Guatemala by Lynne Jones
- Migrant, refugees and asylum seekers Why does it matter which?
- Human Rights Watch
- Amnesty International
- Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support in Emergencies
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- New and important UNICEF report! Uprooted: The Growing Crisis For Refugee and Migrant Children
- New and important report from Amnesty International on the Central America Refugee Crisis