Inter-American Human Rights Commission urges American states to protect Cuban and Haitian migrants

Posted by on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Under: Migration

Image credit: Getty images

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) on Monday called the American countries to open safe and legal channels for thousands of Cuban and Haitian migrants en route to the United States, expressing concern about the situation of "vulnerability" of migrants.

Most of these people come primarily from Cuba and Haiti but also from Africa and Asia.

"We call on States to take immediate action to open channels that allow these people to migrate legally and safely"

"The fact that migrants are resorting to irregular channels and smugglers, explains the lack and inadequacy of legal and safe migration routes,"
 said President of the IACHR, James Cavallaro in a statement.

According to a census conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman of Colombia, July 28, 2016, they were 1,273 Cuban migrants, including about 300 children, vulnerable in the municipality of Turbo. According to the Colombian State, there was an accompaniment of the Ministry of Health and the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) for the attention of women and children and conducted several days of health care providing.

Cubans are seeking to reach the United States to take advantage of a law that offers the benefits of immigration and the fear that this advantage could disappear by the recent diplomatic rapprochement between Washington and Havana; while the majority of Haitians migrants have come from Brazil. Since the economic recession of the south American giant, Haitians who were legally permitted to come to brazil after the 2010 earthquake are finding it harder to get employment.

According to a census conducted by the Colombian authorities in late July, almost 1,300 Cubans - and more than 2,400 according to informal figures are accommodated at Turbo.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman stated that the main concerns on human rights are the conditions in which migrants are housed, difficulties in access to food, the risk of disease, as well as the possibility to be trafficked.

The Commission also received information on the dangers of death and abuse faced by migrants who are engaged in their journey through the jungle area of the Darien Gap, where armed groups operate. Migrants who have traveled this path reported experiencing inhumane conditions in their journey through the jungle and are then transmitted to migrant organizations and others with serious injuries and fractures. The Committee has also received information on violations and acts of sexual violence and robberies, beatings and extortion by smugglers and even in some cases by the police.

In accordance with the international obligations of Colombia on human rights, the Commission asked the Colombian government to implement all necessary measures to protect the life, integrity and security of all migrants under their jurisdiction . The effective guarantee of the right to life requires the state to adopt preventive measures, when aware of lack of protection and to provide assistance for migrants in danger situations.

The state should also take measures to guarantee the rights to due process and judicial protection in the context of migration, family unity, and seeking asylum procedures, the principle of non-return and the prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens. In addition, States should take appropriate measures to prevent and punish the abuse of public and private authorities against migrants.

The sharp increase in the number of Haitians and Cubans perishing in the merciless jungles of South America or its wild rivers have grabbed international headlines. A humanitarian crisis in the making, if not one already.

The IACHR is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), pulling its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the General Assembly of the OAS and they do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

In : Migration 

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