Date Publish: 
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched the introductory virtual course called Protection of migrant vulnerable populations: unaccompanied and / or separated children and adolescents, with which reaffirms its commitment to support the promotion, protection and restoration of the fundamental rights of children and adolescents

This course seeks to promote critical thinking, analysis and awareness of the situation of unaccompanied migrant children and teenagers in order to contribute to the identification of needs in the reception process, immediate assistance and protection; with human rights, diversity, multiculturalism, gender and the principle of the best interests of the child as keystones.

The official launch was attended by the Deputy Minister for Salvadorans Abroad, Liduvina Magarín; the Executive Director of the Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Children and Adolescents (ISNA), Elda Tobar; and Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Immigration (DGME), Cristina Rivas and the National Programme Officer for IOM El Salvador, Diana Ruiz de Arteaga.

"You will have access to information about the context of child and adolescent migration in Mesoamerica, with emphasis on the Northern Triangle of Central America; as well as inputs that will help you to reflect on the needs for assistance and protection of migrant children," said the National Programme Officer of IOM, Diana Ruiz de Arteaga, during the launch of the course.

IOM organized the course with input from the project called Assistance to Families and Children unaccompanied in the North Triangle of Central America and the regional programme Strengthening Capacities for the Protection and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants. IOM’s initiative has been funded since 2014 by the Obama administration through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the State Department.

The subjects of the course were developed with the participation of specialists with extensive experience at the international level on issues related to migration and the protection of children and adolescents.

Of the more than 68,000 children who arrived in the United States in 2014, 98% came from Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America: Honduras (28%), Mexico (25%), Guatemala (24%), and El Salvador (21%). This population is highly vulnerable as in their migratory transit they face risks such as extortion, sexual abuse and even death. During 2015, the number of apprehensions in the US has decreased but, in turn, the number of children and adolescents detained during transit through Mexico has significantly increased. Official data of the Migration Policy Unit of the Mexican Federal Government reveals that of 22,864 children and adolescents presented before the Mexican immigration authorities, 98% are from Central America.

This course will initially be available for government officials and people living in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, but it will available to the rest of Spanish-speaking population in the third week of October 2015. As the course is virtual, participants can use the application from home, from the office or other places that have an internet connection, whether from mobile devices or personal computers. With this, IOM seeks to facilitate access to learning and knowledge to strengthen protection for children and adolescents.

To date, and with similar initiatives, IOM has strengthened the skills of government officials involved in the direct response to migrant children and adolescents returned to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala through more than 40 similar workshops. For this virtual course, the Salvadoran State has the first 160 registrations coming from institutions such as the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry, National Institute for the Integral Development of Children and Adolescents (ISNA), National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONNA) of the Directorate General of Immigration (DGME), among others.

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