Ibero-American ombuds call for urgent steps to protect migrants

Tegucigalpa, Jun 30 (EFE).- Officials from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America gathered here Thursday for the first Ibero-American Encounter of ombuds and human rights commissioners asked governments for prompt action to protect the rights and physical integrity of migrants trying to reach the United States.

Ismael Rins, the municipal ombud in Rio Cuarto, Argentina, told Efe in Tegucigalpa that the Northern Triangle of Central America, comprising El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, is in urgent need of investment to reduce the pressure on inhabitants to emigrate.

This week’s tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, where 53 migrants died after spending hours locked in an overheated tractor-trailer, “is an omen of what is to come,” he said.

Migration must be addressed from “a human rights perspective” and with reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to “find once and for all the way” to put an end to disorderly migration “in a framework that allows progressivity, inclusion, development,” Rins said.

A definitive solution will not be found by treating migration as a question of national security, he said.

The head of Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission, Blanca Izaguirre, told Efe that governments have an obligation to craft policies that deal with the structural causes of migration.

“We know that the lack of opportunities, of assurances of human, economic, social and cultural rights and, in the case of Honduras, we have extortion and organized crime,” she said.

Izaguirre, vice president of the Ibero-American Federation of Ombuds, expressed regret that people find themselves forced to migrate, “even seeking out dangerous routes, setting themselves up to being victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and in the worst cases, death.”

“We as states have the obligation to attend to the situation migrants, with a distinctive human rights focus,” she said.

The Honduran official said that governments should not “continue criminalizing or stigmatizing migration,” as moving from one place to another is a “right that we all have as human beings.”

El Salvador’s national ombud, Jose Apolonio Tobar, said that the states of Central America are “failing to provide economic, social, and cultural rights” to their populations, spurring many to “risk their lives for a better tomorrow.”

Governments in the region would do well to “eliminate all the bureaucratic barriers that hamper the delivery of services,” he said.

He appealed for shared responsibility to safeguard the human rights of migrants in their home countries, in transit, and when they reach their intended destination. EFE ac/dr

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