UN Agencies regret the death of persons on the move in Latin America, and stand ready to accompany a coordinated regional response

UN Agencies deeply regret the shipwreck in Acandí, Colombia, on October 11 of a vessel carrying around 30 people headed to Panama. Colombian authorities reported that three people lost their lives in the tragedy and another six, including three children, are missing.

Yet again, the incident shows the despair to which families with children have been driven, as well as the risks to which people on the move are exposed during their journey, seeking safety, protection of their rights, and looking for a better life, while crossing borders — often on irregular routes given the lack of routes for regular migration.

Although population movements across the Darien region are not new, their magnitude, risk levels, and precariousness have increased in the last months. Similarly, the profile of people following this route and the variety of nationalities have broadened, mainly including people from the Caribbean and South America, and people from other continents.

According to Panama’s National Migration Service, between January and September this year, 91,300 people crossed the Darien Gap. UNICEF has reported that, out of those people, 19,000 were boys and girls, half of them less than five years old. As of September, more than 50 people had been found dead on the Panamanian side of the Darien route. This situation demands that the countries and civil society stakeholders involved collaborate in taking actions to ensure that the people missing during these journeys are searched and identified.

Along the route, many people (particularly, women, girls, and boys) are exposed to risks and human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, robbery, people trafficking, discrimination, extortion and kidnapping, among others. Most of these are committed by organized crime. Girls and women are particularly affected by the situation. Therefore, a response from a gender perspective is needed.

UN Agencies highlight the need to strengthen safe, regular, or organized migration routes to reduce the risk of death. Additionally, they call to strengthen the investigations against national and transnational groups and networks involved in trafficking, smuggling and related illegal activities. Furthermore, UN Agencies urge States to protect the rights of all persons on the move (particularly women, girls, boys, and others with specific protection needs), including the right to seek and be granted asylum. Similarly, they encourage States to ensure effective access to basic services, regardless of someone’s migration status, the reasons why a person on the move left their country of origin, their income level, or their travel conditions or circumstances.

Healthy economies and societies depend on well-managed human mobility to foster economic growth, reduce inequalities, connect diverse societies, and stimulate post-COVID-19 recovery.

The collaboration between the authorities of the countries through which these mixed movements of population transit is necessary for an effective and comprehensive response that ensures safety and dignity for people on the move on a regional level. UN agencies stand ready to accompany this process.

Joint statement by the regional offices of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Women, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

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Date Publish: 
panama, humanitarian, haiti

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.