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Honduras becomes a regional reference for the return and reintegration of migrants

This press release was initially issued by the UN Network on Migration in Honduras.

San Pedro Sula (Honduras), October 12, 2023 - The United Nations Network on Migration organized the first peer learning exchange between Central American countries and Mexico on safe, dignified and rights-based return and readmission of migrants and their sustainable reintegration, making Honduras a reference country in the region for assisting returning migrants.

During the three-day event, participants exchanged good practices and built the capacity of UN agencies, civil society organizations, and government entities working in the migration field.

“Central America has made tremendous progress in recent years to implement dignified return processes based on international human rights standards. Safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration are indispensable parts of a comprehensive approach to migration management,” said Nicola Graviano, IOM Chief of Mission and Coordinator of the Network for El Salvador and Honduras. “IOM focuses on strategies that promote and facilitate dialogue to promote the identification and development of effective policies, encourage the understanding of opportunities and challenges involved, and, above all, improve the response provided in these cases,” he concluded.

During this event, participants discussed the regional migration context and dynamics; the need to protect the rights of children on the move; the gender dimension in the migration cycle; the implementation of the Network’s checklist for a safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration. Participants also exchanged good practices carried out in the participating countries and visited return centres providing immediate assistance and support to returned migrants.

“In all matters related to human mobility, including the return and reintegration of migrants, the keyword is ‘coordination’, both within organizations and within communities, where we must also promote humanity and empathy towards these people,” noted Alice Shackelford, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Honduras.

During the event, participants also highlighted the importance of identifying the different profiles and needs of migrants in the region. Migration processes, including before, during and after the return, should be designed to identify the specific needs of people who travel in mixed movements, mainly those who leave their countries because of human rights violations, allowing them to receive protection and assistance along the routes, and guarantee safe and sustainable reintegration.

“The protection of children and adolescents on the move must be, without a doubt, an intercontinental priority for all governments, civil society, and international cooperation, putting these rights before their migratory status because, first and foremost, they are children,” emphasized Bastiaan van ’t Hoff, Representative of UNICEF Honduras.

So far this year, according to official data from the Consular and Migration Observatory of Honduras, 44,110 people returned to Honduras, mainly from the United States (28,563) and Mexico (14,163). In Guatemala, according to official data from the Social Welfare Secretariat and the Guatemalan Migration Institute, 51,424 people returned to Guatemala, mainly from the United States (31,716), Mexico (19,617), and other countries (91). In El Salvador, according to official data from the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners, 8,833 people returned to El Salvador, mainly from the United States (7,332), Mexico (1,406), and other countries (95).

This event was organized by the Working Group for the Promotion of Safe, Dignified, and Rights-based Return, Readmission, and Sustainable Reintegration of the United Nations Network on Migration, co-chaired by IOM, UNICEF, UNHCR, and the Migration Policy Institute, along with several members from other UN agencies, civil society organizations and academia.

This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of USAID and the Governments of Canada, Luxembourg, and Sweden. It reaffirms the regional commitment to a comprehensive response that allows an adequate management of human mobility at the individual, community, and structural levels.

Progress is being made in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), supported by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama. These countries are also leading the implementation of the Compact, especially its objective 21  on cooperation on safe and dignified return and reintegration and sustainable reintegration.

For more information, please contact: Ismael CRUCETA, Organización Internacional para las Migraciones Honduras. M. +504 9457 3685

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).