Progress & Challenges in the Protection of Migrant Youth & Children in Countries of Origin, Transit & Destination
This session addressed the situation of migrant children and adolescents. Participants identified that most migrants are minors. Also, there was a discussion about the need to improve mental health care for them due to the incidence of depression, attempted suicide, and anxiety. The importance of giving access to formal education and establishing partnerships with universities to reinforce knowledge was also highlighted. The lack of visibility of migrant children was mentioned and the need to treat them with dignity and protect their best interest was emphasized. Additionally, there was a discussion about the challenges faced by migrant children, such as the lack of opportunities and the risk of being recruited by criminal organizations. The importance of documenting and reporting the abuse and violations of rights that they suffer was also stressed.
The agreements and opportunities identified are: Mexico has implemented the Law on Interculturality and has amended the law to protect children at migrant holding centers. Communities that have educated migrant children—giving them opportunities to become entrepreneurs and professionals—have also been created. A proposal has been made to create amparo processes against deportation and a protocol to deal with migrant children—whether accompanied or unaccompanied—which analyzes their situation before their repatriation. Documentation was also identified as a bottleneck and mechanisms were proposed to mitigate this weakness. In Honduras, a law has been approved related to people displaced by violence, which can be a door for new laws that look after migrants. Also discussed was fostering children’s own political thinking. It is necessary to find economic support from American organizations to act in light of the situation of children from Mexico to the US. Finally, participants highlighted the importance of community work to raise more awareness and support children and youths.