Childhood and Migration in Central and North America – Study

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies reported in its February 12, 2015 press release the publication of a comprehensive regional study on the “conditions, laws, policies, and practices throughout the Northern Central America-Mexico-United States corridor” related to migration. This thirteen chapter study is the result of a two-year regional investigation and focuses on the practices in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and United States. It concludes that the human rights of migrant children and of children whose parents are migrants are being systematically violated and it calls on those five countries “to reform laws and policies and to develop a regional response to guarantee children’s rights in countries of origin, transit, and destination.”

The study overall finds four major shortcomings that deny the basic rights of children and adolescents in the context of migration: (1) lack of attention to the root causes of migration including social exclusion, marginalization and poverty, violence, and the need to reunify with family, (2) policies that prioritize immigration enforcement—such as detention and deportation—over the rights and best interests of children and adolescents, (3) an absence of adequate reintegration programs for repatriated children, and (4) the lack of comprehensive regional accords and policies informed by human rights, human development, humanitarian law, and international refugee law.

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