The Caravan In The Room

There is a humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Central America. You may have heard about it in the news? Over 7,000 people from the region are heading towards the United States border. 35% of them are children. 

Yesterday, Donald Trump refused to answer questions about it - so we will.

Why does the migrant caravan exist?

Our partner, the Centre for Research and Promotion of Human Rights (CIPRODEH), outlined some reasons during the 169th session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). They explained that widespread violence in Honduras has forced many people to flee their homes. Displaced, and unprotected by the State, they end up seeking international protection outside of the Northern Triangle Countries.

Why should we help?

In response to this, our local partner CASM (Mennonite Social Action Commission) says:

“Given the high number of people fleeing, of which 35% are children and other vulnerable people including the elderly, pregnant women and persons with disabilities, the situation is a humanitarian crisis that urgently needs a response. Most people in the caravan are walking, sometimes taking lifts offered on the road, these people are being injured, with wounds on the feet, children are suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, sunstroke and fainting due to the hardships of the journey.”

Is there a solution?

I don’t know the answer, but luckily some smarter people than myself in Christian Aid do. According to them:

“The crisis must be addressed through a holistic and comprehensive human rights approach that does not simply take into account the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants, but equally those of internally displaced persons in line with the international Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. 

Against a backdrop of increased displacement and forced migrants in the context of the Americas, the member States of the Organization of American States need urgently to consider enacting a regional instrument such as the Kampala Convention and the Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. On the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, this call to action is not only opportune but of utmost importance.”

What is Christian Aid doing about it?

It's a good question.

Christian Aid has explicitly expressed solidarity with all migrants, including asylum seekers and forced migrants of all categories. They've also called on all states and international organisations to ensure the rights of people fleeing from their homes.

Christian Aid has also called on the authorities to avoid mass deportations and abide by principles of humanitarian law. All countries have an obligation to ensure the safe passage of people, to protect the life and the rights of migrants, and to study each case individually.