Caribbean Governments Address Needs of Children Affected by Migration
IOM this week brought together nine Caribbean countries in
Georgetown, Guyana to develop a framework and draft recommendations
to address the needs of children affected by migration in the
Child protection specialists and other officials from Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) member states (Antigua, Bahamas, Belize,
Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and
Trinidad and Tobago), the CARICOM Secretariat, IOM and the UN
Children's Fund (UNICEF) exchanged practical experiences, and
identified national strengths and weaknesses.
The group's effort culminated into a comprehensive framework and
a set of recommendations for children affected by migration. This
addressed issues of data collection and dissemination, policy and
procedures, and the provision of basic services in education,
social welfare and health.
The framework and recommendations, which delegates described as
"appropriate and proactive," will be submitted to CARICOM's Council
for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) for consideration at a
meeting later this year.
The framework and recommendations are based on three general
- Children who stay behind when their parents or legal guardians
- Children who have migrated unaccompanied or accompanied to a
- Children from CARICOM countries returning home.
Dr. Edward Greene, CARICOM's Assistant Secretary General
for Human and Social Development, said that the topic was a new one
that CARICOM member states "are only beginning to explore, despite
the region's traditionally strong intra- and extra-regional
"But the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which all
CARICOM member states have ratified, states that children are
considered children, before they are considered migrants," he
The Guyana meeting was funded by the US State Department's
Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
Over the past five years, IOM and its Caribbean partners have
been active in the fight against human trafficking. Domestic
servitude, sexual slavery and forced labour have all been
identified as primary trends. IOM efforts have focused on
regional collaboration and information sharing, capacity building
and training, direct assistance to victims of trafficking and
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