US Supports IOM Aid to Returned Migrant Children, Families in Honduras
Honduras - This week IOM staff in Honduras met with US diplomats and USAID officials to coordinate actions aimed at strengthening the response of the Honduran Government to the current child migration crisis in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador).
IOM facilitated a visit by US Senators John Cornyn and Tim Kayne and US Ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, to the Centro de Atención al Migrante Retornado – the Reception Center for Returned Migrants (CAMR by its Spanish acronym).
During this week’s meetings, US and Honduran Government officials and IOM discussed issues related to irregular migration in Central America including human trafficking, the repatriation and reception process in the country, and the relationship between migration and poverty.
During 2014, over 60,000 minors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were detained at the Mexico/ US border. Most children were attempting to cross into the US illegally to reunite with their families, while others were fleeing gang violence and poverty in their native countries.
According to official sources, over the past 10 months approximately 18,000 Honduran children have been deported from the US and Mexico to their country.
The migrant reception center and shelter “El Edén” provides assistance to unaccompanied minors and families following their return to Honduras.
“Unfortunately, for many years the property has remained in a deplorable condition,” explained Ivonne Salgado, IOM’s project coordinator in Honduras.
For Martha Reyes, Director of El Edén, the reception center does not meet the standards needed to provide comprehensive assistance to returnees. “Urgent improvements in the kitchen area and bathrooms are needed. We don’t have enough space to accommodate people, much less to offer appropriate space for women with their babies. Plus we have rat infestation problems,” she said.
The CAMR also provides assistance to adult returnees who arrive by air from the US. "For many years we have provided support to returnees; we greet them with a warm welcome back into their country. We want to continue these activities, with support from the US Government," said CAMR Director Sister Valdette Willeman.
Through the USAID-funded project “Assistance to Returning Families and Unaccompanied Children in the Northern Triangle of Central America”, IOM plans to increase its capacity to respond to the needs of the governments of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to assist these vulnerable populations.
The IOM mission in Honduras will carry out structural and technical renovations to the reception center El Edén, in order to ensure comprehensive care for unaccompanied children and families.
"We can see that a great job has been done in receiving returnees in a dignified way. And, we consider necessary all the actions that are taking place in order to strengthen capacities and infrastructure at the reception centers," said Texas Senator John Cornyn.
“The project covers several components, ranging from workshops to strengthen the capacity of government response and primary care. The main activities will focus on rebuilding El Edén and expanding the CAMR. IOM will provide these centers with what is needed to ensure comprehensive care for vulnerable returnees, ensuring quality care for women and children," added Salgado.
As part of the project, IOM also provides hygiene kits, food and transportation for returnees in El Edén and at the CAMR. In addition, IOM will provide training on human rights to officials from local government institutions, NGOs and civil society organizations that take part in the process of repatriation and reception of migrant returnees.
Buses with children deported from different Mexican states arrive at El Edén three times a week. El Edén also receives and provides assistance to unaccompanied minors that arrive by air from the US.
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