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OAS Permanent Council Adopts by Acclamation a Declaration on “Central American Unaccompanied Child Migrants”

  July 23, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today adopted by acclamation a Declaration on “Central American Unaccompanied Child Migrants,” presented by the Missions of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, during a regular meeting in Washington, DC.

The Declaration adopted states that “the migration of children and adolescents not accompanied by their parents constitutes one of the most glaring manifestations of social exclusion and the lack of protection of their human rights.” It also expresses “solidarity with the governments of the region, so that the problem of unaccompanied migration of children is addressed from a humanitarian perspective that ensures the wellbeing and respectful treatment of the children and that allows for family reunification where appropriate.”

In its text, the document calls on the countries of the region “to make genuine efforts to guarantee essential security conditions for their citizens, in particular children and adolescents, and respect their human rights, so they can develop and flourish in their own local communities within their countries of origin.” Moreover, it urges the international community and the countries of origin to jointly allocate resources to foster economic development, social inclusion, employment opportunities, and citizen security in order to reduce the impetus for migration to other countries in search of other opportunities not found in the countries of origin.”

The Permanent Council, through the adopted document, requests receiving countries and countries of transit to consider “as a central humanitarian principle” the “wellbeing and full respect for the human rights of children.“ Finally, the Declaration affirms the support of the member states to the affected countries “in their efforts to combat organized transnational crime, human smuggling and trafficking.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, congratulated the states involved in the problem “for the prudence and the calm with which they have addressed the issue.” He explained that the General Secretariat has had two fundamental concerns on the issue, “first the general way of addressing the crisis in some sectors, that have wanted to transform this into a national security issue,” and in second place, “the need to guarantee due process to the children in the framework of the procedures that are established by internal and international norms.”

“I want to applaud very directly the decision of the President of the United States to speak here about a humanitarian situation and, above all, for not making this a media issue but rather an issue in which we must seek solutions,” said the OAS leader. Moreover, he urged members to show “our support for the reiterated request of the President of the United States for internal legislation that takes account of the phenomena of migration as they are today, and transmit our full willingness to cooperate as far as is possible to address this situation.”

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-313/14