IOM’s Specialized Course on Migrant Children extend to Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

2 May, 2017

A total of 50 officials of institutions and civil society organizations in Costa Rica started in April a specialized course to promote the comprehensive protection of migrant children and adolescents.  About 100 people more from Nicaragua and Panama will join this group by middle May.

The IOM’s Specialized Course on Migrant Children, which have so far only been conducted in the countries of the Northern Triangle of Mesoamerica and Mexico, are now a reality in the south of the region, where the number of migrants in transit – including children and adolescents - have increased substantially.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) developed the Specialized Course on Migrant Children, in order to ensure the protection of the human rights of children and adolescents.

"It is up to us, as public officials and civil servants, to assume the responsibility of adequately serving the migrant children and adolescents who travel through our country.. This course is essential, we owe it to the children who pass through this country" said Monserrat Solano, Ombudsman, during the inauguration of the course.

In Costa Rica, the course is developed in partnership with the Ombdusman Office, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The National Migration Directorate and the Institute for National Children

“Costa Rica cannot close its eyes to the issue of migrant children. We are living it. More than 500 children were registered last year in migrations records.  Boys and girls who entered and we are not clear who they are or with whom they travel, and are passing through Costa Rica. We need to get more involved, identify the situation and develop the tools to offer an effective approach and that these children can have their rights protected", says Kattia Rodriguez, Children and Adolescents Director of the Ombudsman Office.

The national migrant children's courses involve 21 hours of independent study and 60 face-to-face hours and are taught from April to June.

"Through this course, that we are now replicating in Costa Rica, and will replicate in Panama and Nicaragua on May,  we seek to increase not only knowledge, but also understanding and sensitivity about the reality, needs and rights of children and adolescents in the context of migration," said Alexandra Bonnie, coordinator of the IOM Mesoamerica Program.

This is one of the actions supported by the OIM Mesoamerican Program "Strengthening Protection and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants", funded by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refuge and Migration.