Date Publish: 
Friday, July 24, 2015

As part of its awareness activities in favour of mobile populations, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently carried out the Community Festival for the rights of people who migrate.

This activity - that was held in the central square of San Miguel, the second largest city in El Salvador - is part of a traveling festival that began in Tapachula, Mexico, and that has toured the municipalities of Tacana and Sibinal in Guatemala; San Miguel and La Union in El Salvador; and will finish in Nacaome and San Pedro Sula, in Honduras. During this journey, the festival has promoted the fundamental rights of the migrants through music, theatre, poetry and games that involve the communities. These events have also helped to support local artists and youth groups with artistic workshops.

With this action, IOM seeks to contribute to the protection and assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations through art. This is accomplished by raising awareness about rights, the challenges of irregular migration and to inform the communities about the services and support programs that exist at the municipal level.

Interagency cooperation is a priority for IOM, thus in this activity there was also the presence of the Directorate General of Immigration (DGME), International Sanitary Bureau (OSI), Ministry of Health (MINSAL), Board Protection Children and Adolescents, the Salvadoran Institute for Children and Adolescents (ISNA), National Civil Police (PNC), the Attorney General's Office (FGR), among others. These institutions also informed about the actions they carry out in favour of mobile populations.

IOM organizes these festivals as part of the Regional Programme to strengthen the capacities of protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants in Mesoamerica, which is developed in Central America and Mexico, with funding from the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration of the State Department of the United States.

The Mesoamerica Project has been implemented in El Salvador since 2010 and, to date, has achieved the adaptation of facilities for the care of migrants in a vulnerable situations at the borders of Angiatú and Amatillo; and it has provided training to key personnel on the protection of mobile populations, human rights, migration and trafficking. In 2015, training sessions aimed at staff working at the local level and at borders, as well as prevention workshops in schools, are developed.

The Mesoamerican region is considered as the transit corridor through which the largest number of migrants travel in the world. Although no official figures, it is estimated that about 400,000 people a year go to Mexico irregularly through this area.

For further information, please contact: Alba Miriam Amaya, IOM El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras at [email protected]