Media Center

Press Release

Statement on the Initiative of Chile and Colombia for the Protection of Accompanied and Unaccompanied Migrant and Refugee Children and Adolescents in the Americas

  February 4, 2023

The General Secretariat supports the initiative of the Missions of Chile and Colombia to the OAS, who, in collaboration with the Inter-American Dialogue, propose to jointly and collaboratively initiate, within the OAS, a hemispheric dialogue that allows for coordination and cooperation for the protection of migrant and refugee children in the Americas. This is for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of migrant and refugee children and adolescents, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied.

Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing one of the largest migratory processes in history. Violence, poverty, inequality, hunger, insecurity, political instability and persecution, as well as the effects of climate change, force the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people each year, which poses challenges for policies and institutions of our countries. Many times it is a chaotic process, which exposes migrants and refugees to multiple vulnerabilities in terms of human rights, especially migrant and refugee families seeking reception and integration in our countries and local communities.

In this general framework, it is particularly girls, boys and adolescents (NNA) who suffer disproportionately when they find themselves in a double situation of vulnerability: being a migrant and being a minor. In addition to expressions of xenophobia and racism that are not uncommon, migrant children and adolescents are exposed to different forms of abuse and violence, especially the youngest and the unaccompanied.

The seriousness of this reality demands urgent attention from States, civil society and international organizations. It is essential that these entities assume a permanent commitment to address this problem of strategic and humanitarian importance in our hemisphere. It is necessary to develop actions in a peremptory and coordinated manner.

This initiative will propose a meeting to be held during the OAS General Assembly, next June 23, convening government representatives, international organizations and civil society in a useful and productive dialogue, working together. The General Secretariat reiterates its approval and commitment to this proposal and offers its broadest and most dedicated collaboration. We cannot leave our refugee and migrant children and adolescents behind.

Reference: E-005/23