AMERICA/HONDURAS - Bishops appeal to Central American governments: the right to emigrate must be respected

Thursday, 21 January 2021 emigration   local churches   human rights   area crisis  


Tegucigalpa (Agenzia Fides) - The Secretariat of the Bishops of Central America (SEDAC) is issuing an urgent appeal in light of the new migratory flows from Honduras, which are again forming a so-called caravan and heading for the United States and have been violently stopped in Guatemala.
The Secretariat calls on the states involved to "respect the right to emigrate and not to repel people in need of international protection". Around nine thousand people have joined the caravan, including entire families, with older people and children.
In the appeal signed by the head of the secretariat, Bishop Escobar Alas and the SEDAC secretary, Cardinal Rosa Chávez, the bishops point out that the migratory flows are not the problem of a single country, but affect the entire region, which is why they are sent to the Governments of the region and Mexico appeal "to cooperate fully and in a humane manner in addressing the problem", recalling the need to "address the structural causes that lead to migration" and not defenseless migrants.
As entire families travel north in caravans, often falling victim to organized crime along the way, the Central American bishops are calling on the region's authorities to "ensure the safety of migrants traveling through their respective countries".
The emigrants are fleeing Honduras from poverty, lack of opportunity and the devastation caused by the two devastating Hurricanes Eta and Lota, which plunged the country into further poverty.
As in 2018 (see Fides, 24/10/2018), many Hondurans are currently making their way to the USA in the hope of a better future and a new home. Shortly before the new US President Biden took office, however, the US authorities made it clear that "this is not the right time to travel to the US as the situation at the border will not change overnight".
The migrants were stopped by the police in Guatemala while they received expressions of solidarity from the Catholic Church. In Mexico, the Catholic Church's Reception Center in Chiapas State has taken its first steps to provide humanitarian assistance. The center's coordinator, Héctor Preciado, told the local press that migrants who turn to this facility will be provided with food, water, medicines, hygiene and protective materials. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 21/1/2021)