More than 12,000 people, including 3,000 children, have crossed from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, to Tapachula, Mexico, since 17 January, UNICEF said yesterday (31 Jan).
It is critical to uphold special protection for these children, particularly those among them traveling alone, the children’s agency said.
According to government statistics, more than 30,000 children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were temporarily held in detention centres in 2018.
Although Mexico is increasingly implementing measures to safeguard children’s rights while in transit or seeking asylum in the country, challenges persist.
Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Director of Communications visited the border area.
At the Tapachula migration station, which holds close to 1,000 men, women and children, Escudero spoke with mothers and young women kept at the station while their asylum claims or deportation orders are processed.
The new Mexican Government has officially committed to end detention of all child migrants and is presently working to fulfil this new policy. UNICEF and other organizations are closely supporting these efforts by helping develop alternatives to detention.
In Mexico, UNICEF continues to work with the Government and its partners to ensure that migrant children receive the support and services they need and that their rights are upheld. Through its teams in Tapachula,
UNICEF is giving direct support to children arriving at the migration office in Ciudad Hidalgo, providing them with information about their migratory options. The children’s agency is also providing direct technical assistance to the Social Welfare Agency and Child Protection Authorities to ensure unaccompanied children are duly processed and receive appropriate care.
UNICEF is advocating with its Government partners to build on the country’s existing successful programmes for children on the move, keeping the best interests of the child above all other considerations~UNICEF