PBI-Honduras concerned by the risks faced by the migrant caravan expected to depart this month
On January 3, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted, “We are following with concern the call for a new migrant caravan for January 2020.”
PBI-Honduras adds, “In 2019 Honduras exceeded the figures of the previous year with more 81 thousand returned and around 105 thousand deported.”
Their post included this Plaza Publica news article.
That article notes, “It all started on Friday, October 12, 2018, when hundreds of Hondurans, alerted by the notice of former deputy Bartolo Fuentes, who said on national television that he would accompany a small group of migrants to the United States to request asylum, began to gather in San Pedro Sula.”
Le Monde reports that the caravan grew to 7,000 people.
In this CounterPunch article, Fuentes says, “The people leave because in Honduras they can’t resolve the basic problem of survival. Other countries need to understand that it’s not outside agitators or instigators that are prodding the people to leave, it’s hunger, it’s despair, it’s the lack of opportunities. The way things are, Hondurans aren’t going to stop leaving any time soon.”
By November, some of those migrants faced tear gas cannisters fired by Customs and Border Protection officers at the US border. The BBC reports, “The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of tear gas in war, but allows it for domestic law enforcement purposes.”
Overall, travel for migrants transiting through Mexico is perilous.
Doctors Without Borders has previously reported, “Through violence assessment surveys and medical and psychosocial consultations, MSF teams have witnessed and documented a pattern of violent displacement, persecution, sexual violence, and forced repatriation akin to the conditions found in the deadliest armed conflicts in the world today.”
This is part of the reason for the mass caravans.
The Guardian explains, “The groups have overturned migrants’ normal behaviour: instead of seeking to move without being seen – by authorities or criminals – they are are hoping that travelling in the open will keep them safe.”
The Associated Press adds, “Collective migration has become an attractive resource for Hondurans because it offers greater protection against the stalking of criminals who could await them along the way.”
The Los Angeles Times now reports, “Since the Guatemala agreement took effect on Nov. 22, U.S. officials have forcibly sent a number of Honduran adults to Guatemala, and last week, they began sending some Honduran families, according to communications obtained by The Times and several U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials.”
Non-Hondurans are also being deported by the United States to Honduras. Immigration attorney Raul A. Reyes comments in The Hill, “Honduras is not safe for its own citizens, let alone for outsiders with no familial ties or social networks.”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated, “Human rights violations against migrants can include a denial of civil and political rights such as arbitrary detention, torture, or a lack of due process, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing or education. The denial of migrants’ rights is often closely linked to discriminatory laws and to deep-seated attitudes of prejudice or xenophobia.”
Peace Brigades International-Canada shares the concern about the vulnerability of migrants to violence and human rights violations and supports the call to promote, protect and fulfill the human rights of all migrants.