AMERICA/GUATEMALA - Migration in Central America: Migration officers call for decisive measures and more pastoral support

Thursday, 1 September 2022 emigration   local churches  

Antigua (Agenzia Fides) - "We call on the social and political leaders of our countries to act decisively and implement local and regional measures and policies that promote inclusive and harmonious development, respecting the laws and conventions in force. This will only be possible if civil society and its organizations also commit themselves to creating spaces for dialogue and the search for justice and peace", says a joint declaration of the staff of the pastoral care of human mobility, including bishops, priests, religious and lay people, at the end of the VIII. Meeting of Migration Officers from the southern border of Mexico and Central American countries, recently held in Antigua, Guatemala.
In the closing message of the three-day meeting (August 8-11), addressed to the government authorities, civil society, churches and peoples of Central America and Mexico, the participants see it as their duty to speak out for their brothers and sisters with a migration background and "to ensure that their concerns, wishes and hopes are taken into account in the construction of our societies".
"The Churches of our countries," says the message, "are called to increase the pastoral care of human mobility, especially where the presence of our migrant brothers and sisters is more alive in order to strengthen the spaces of national and regional cooperstion, to share experiences of service to migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking, in order to encourage constant improvement in our actions and to allow constant monitoring of the situation, so that the voices of our brothers and sisters, who we serve, are heard" .
The text notes that the governments of the region "continue to pursue development models that deepen socio-economic inequalities and aggravate the precarious situation in which the majority of the already impoverished population lives". Another cause for concern is the "progressive deterioration of the already fragile democracies in our countries" which, together with endemic corruption and the culture of impunity, are hampering the building of prosperous societies based on justice and peace and are forcing populations to emigrate.
With waves of migration triggered by various crises in many parts of the world, measures to stem migration are proliferating, based "on a vision of national security over the right to migrate and the search for a better future". Many of these measures are determined by the geopolitical interests of the great powers, who are interested in "regulating" migration, but in reality intend to stop it, according to the participants of the meeting, who also point out in this context the need to to ask what future perspectives our societies offer to families, young women, children and young people who make up a large part of the migrant flows.
They note with concern that the different interests influencing the migration policies of Central American countries "result in non-respect of agreements on the integration of migrants and their free transit" and denounce the violations of migrants' rights by police officers.
Despite all these signs, the message continues, "we find hope in the love that impels many of these brothers and sisters to sacrifice themselves and overcome these great difficulties." "We are inspired by the tireless work of our pastoral workers, who multiply the loaves and fishes in initiatives along the migration routes.We are moved by the zeal of those who care for our brothers and sisters who seek protection through migration or forced displacement, and those who protect victims or survivors of human trafficking". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 1/9/2022)