UN Agencies Call for Protection Measures and a Comprehensive Regional Approach for Haitians on the Move

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) call on states to refrain from expelling Haitians without proper assessment of their individual protection needs, to uphold the fundamental human rights of Haitians on the move, and to offer protection mechanisms or other legal stay arrangements for more effective access to regular migration pathways. 

The four agencies also encourage countries in the Americas to engage in a comprehensive regional approach to ensure the protection of Haitian men, women and children moving throughout the region.

The UN and its partners are providing basic assistance to Haitians at various points en route and in Haiti. However, more needs to be done to address their profound vulnerabilities. 

The complex social, economic, humanitarian and political situation, and the various catastrophes affecting Haiti, some of which are linked to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, have led to different population movements from the Caribbean country in the past decade. 

Haitians on the move in the Americas comprise people with different protection needs, profiles and motivations, including unaccompanied and separated children, victims of trafficking, and survivors of gender-based violence. Some may have well-founded grounds to request international refugee protection. Others may have other protection needs.

International law prohibits collective expulsions and requires that each case be examined individually to identify protection needs under international human rights and refugee law.

Discriminatory public discourse portraying human mobility as a problem risks contributing to racism and xenophobia and should be avoided and condemned.

Haiti continues to face an escalation in violence and insecurity, with at least 19,000 people internally displaced in the capital Port-au-Prince in the summer of 2021 alone. Well over 20 per cent of girls and boys have been victims of sexual violence. In addition, nearly 24 per cent of the population, including 12.9 per cent who are children, live below the extreme poverty line of US$ 1.23 per day. Some 4.4 million people, or nearly 46 per cent of the population, face acute food insecurity, including 1.2 million people who are in emergency levels and 3.2 million people at crisis levels. An estimated 217,000 children suffer from moderate-to-severe acute malnutrition. 

This situation is bound to worsen as a result of the 14 August earthquake straining any capacity to receive returning Haitians. Conditions in Haiti continue to be dire, and not conducive to forced returns.

Media contacts: 

For IOM: 
In San Jose, Jorge Gallo, +506 7203 6536, jgallo@iom.int
In Geneva, Safa Msehli, +41794035526, smsehli@iom.int

In Panama, William Spindler, + 507 63827815, spindler@unhcr.org 
In Mexico, Sibylla Brodzinsky, +52 55 8048 5054, brodzins@unhcr.org 
In Geneva, Aikaterini Kitidi, +41 79 5808334, kitidi@unhcr.org 

In New York, Najwa Mekki, +1 917 209 1804, nmekki@unicef.org  

In Geneva, Liz Throssell, + 41 22 917 9296, elizabeth.throssell@un.org 

Date Publish: 

IOM, USAID to Provide 6,000 Scholarships for Young Salvadorans

Date Publish: 
19 / 11 / 2021

Zacatecoluca - More than 6,000 young Salvadorans will benefit from scholarships covering tuition and monthly fees, transportation subsidies, school supplies, support for skills development, job training, and formal employment possibilities through the Educational Opportunity Scholarships project launched last Wednesday November 17.

These incentives for young people to continue their studies will be channeled through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology within its Gradual Educational Model for Technical and Technological Learning (MEGATEC) framework.

The program's coverage is nationwide. The academic offer includes technological management of cultural heritage, global logistics, electronics, computer engineering technician, computer hardware, tourism management and development, food technician, construction engineering technician, and others.

"Together with IOM, the U.S. Government, through USAID, will provide full scholarships and stipends for transportation and food for thousands of young people to successfully complete their studies at the Megatec centers in Zacatecoluca, Santa Ana, Ilobasco, Sonsonate, Chalatenango, and Morazán. They will obtain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to aspire to better jobs," said Jean Manes, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.

With a total investment of USD 20 million, the implementation of this initiative is projected for the next four years. It seeks to strengthen strategies for sustainable reintegration of returned migrants, prevent risks associated with irregular migration and generate prosperity and hope in the lives of Salvadoran youth through equitable access to higher education options.

"Through education, I have learned to question the issues I am passionate about and to look for solutions," said Samuel Castaneda, a high school student and potential beneficiary of the program.

A study conducted by the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) in 6 municipalities of San Salvador and published in October 2021 revealed that over 50% of the surveyed population considering to leave their country in the next 12 months reports the search for better opportunities as their primary motivation to migrate.

"This scholarship program is an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate that investing in human development is the best response to prevent irregular migration and the risks inherent to it. Enhancing the skills and competencies of young people, increasing their self-esteem, and providing them with professional tools will allow them to make reasoned decisions in line with their life projects," said Nicola Graviano, IOM Chief of Mission in El Salvador.

The Educational Opportunity Scholarships project was presented las Wednesday November 17 in an event chaired by the Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in El Salvador, Jean Manes; the Chief of Mission of the IOM in El Salvador, Nicola Graviano; the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), David Gosney; the Director of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, José Mauricio Pineda, and the rector of ITCA-FEPADE, Elsy Escolar Santodomingo.

For more information please contact José Miguel Gómez at IOM El Salvador, Email: miggomez@iom.int, Tel: +503 7600 1784.