Honduras and Guatemala Agree on collaborative actions in the borders to assist migrants

5 June, 2017

On the 5th of May, representatives from governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations from Honduras and Guatemala, linked to migratory issues, met in the municipality of Puerto Barrios, Department of Izabal, Guatemala, to identify the strengths and challenges of the actions implemented in the border between both countries, and explore possible areas of collaboration at the local and cross-border level.

This cross-border meeting was the second of its kind in the area supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the framework of the Regional Program Mesoamerica, in order to analyze migration trends in the border implement joint actions to strengthen capacities for safe, orderly, and regular migration.

The main accomplishment was to update a directory of institutions in the border area that provide services to migrants, including migratory, legal, medical, and psychosocial among other services. 

The parties also initially agreed on establishing a communication network among the governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations from Honduras and Guatemala who participated in the meeting, to reduce the time to obtain documentation in both countries, prioritizing birth certificates for migrant children and adolescents. Likewise, the need to strengthen the joint mechanisms to assist transit and returned migrants was identified; the Jury for Children and Adolescents of the Municipality of Puerto Barrios, Guatemala committed to take direct actions to repatriate migrant boys, girls and adolescents in coordination with the correspondent judicial entity in Honduras.

Based on the lessons learned in different countries were the Mesoamerica Program is implemented, the participants recognized the importance of strengthening communications – both, internally (promoting the use of networks like WhatsApp for immediate and operation communication); as well as to diffuse informative materials to migrants, mapping the risks associated to irregular migration, and others.

The commitment to continue developing the advances was translated into the scheduling of a third meeting in August 2017, which will be co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Honduras.

By June 2017, more than 25 bilateral meetings offering support for the generation and strengthening of spaces for cross-border dialogue and collaboration between the different actors involved in migration in Mesoamerica have taken place with the support of the Regional Program Strengthening the capacities to protect and assist migrants in condition of vulnerability in Mesoamerica (Mesoamerica Program), funded by the Department of State of the United States.

Puerto Barrios department of Izabal, Guatemala