Central American Officials Debate Regional Migration Policies, Migrant Smuggling


Guatemala – To analyze progress and challenges of human mobility in the region, specifically in the areas of migrants smuggling and migration policies, government authorities of nine countries this week (15-16/11), gathered in the city of Guatemala for the 45th meeting of the Central American Commission of Migration Directors (OCAM). IOM, the UN Migration Agency, as technical secretariat for OCAM, facilitated the organization of the meeting.

The assembly was an opportunity to discuss the updating of a Comprehensive Regional Migration Policy. Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, stated the upgrade included guidelines on protection and assistance to respond to migration crisis.

Pisani added, “It complements the existing guidelines which will become a road map for the countries of the region. We hope this Regional Migration Policy to be approved during the Summit of Presidents at the end of the year.”

Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who also represents the OCAM Technical Secretariat, said, “One of the main topics during this meeting was the incorporation of a new axis to the Comprehensive Regional Migration Policy, to coordinate both national and regional response in situations of crisis and to strengthen humanitarian assistance.”

The OCAM was created in San José, Costa Rica, in 1990 per request of Central American Presidents through the Central American Plan of Economic Action (PAECA). OCAM responds to the need for a regional mechanism for coordination, consultation and concertation to address the migration phenomenon; this resulted from the Central American Integration System (SICA).  

The meeting was officially inaugurated by the Vice-President of Guatemala, Jafeth Cabrera; the event was also attended by the OCAM Pro Tempore President and General Director of Migration of Guatemala, Carlos Morales, and the Secretary General of the Economic Integration Secretariat of Central America (SIECA), Melvin Redondo. General directors of migration, assistant directors and technical delegates from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Panama also attended the meeting. Mexico participated as an observer country together with delegates from the United States as special guests.

IOM serves as the technical secretariat for OCAM since 1999 and provides advice as well as technical cooperation to Member States for the improvement of migration management in the region.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5300, Email: jgallo@iom.int

  • The First Lady of Guatemala, Patricia Morales, closed the 45th meeting of the OCAM. Photo: Melissa Vega / IOM