©Reuters

Mexico and central America

450,000

people migrate between Central America and Mexico every year

25%

of the migrants are women

15%

of the migrants are children and young people

The situation in Mexico and central America

Central America and Mexico form a corridor with one of the largest constant flows of migrants in transit anywhere in the world. Around 450,000 people migrate between Central America and Mexico every year.

In late 2018, migrant caravans of almost 10,000 people travelled through Central America and Mexico heading for the United States and the phenomenon continued in 2019.

Among the hundreds of thousands of people migrating between Central America and Mexico every year, there are increasing numbers of families, women and children. They are fleeing poverty, violence and insecurity linked to organised crime, gang violence and some law enforcement officers. The situation of generalised violence and impunity in this region has compounded the cross-border migration crisis with the addition of internally displaced people.

More and more families, women and children are fleeing the insecurity linked to organized crime, gang violence and certain law enforcement agents.

There has been a tightening of already repressive migration policies and border controls. In 2019, the United States exerted pressure to get agreements signed with Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, all of which aimed to curb irregular migration and led to the closure of migration routes, the militarisation of borders and increases in deportations and detentions of asylum seekers.

This has resulted in making displaced populations extremely vulnerable, not only on their migration journeys but also in the context of forced returns.

In addition, since July 2019 the changes in Mexican migration policy due to the agreement with the United States mean that thousands of African migrants (estimated at between 3,500 and 5,000) and Haitians have been stranded in the city of Tapachula. The majority of these migrants are in a very precarious situation and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

highly repressive migration policies and border control have led to a drastic increase in the number of expulsions from Mexico into Central America. ©Reuters
highly repressive migration policies and border control have led to a drastic increase in the number of expulsions from Mexico into Central America. ©Reuters

Our activities in Mexico and central America

Since 2016 Médecins du Monde France and Spain have been running a joint programme which aims to ensure access to healthcare and protection for migrants and internally displaced people in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

 

The programme is based on three main elements.

 

STRENGTHENING PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS’ CAPACITY TO ACT

Médecins du Monde works with public institutions to help them improve how they respond to the needs of these target populations and those of civil society organisations. We also work to encourage the institutions’ participation in public policy development and to improve the provision of psychosocial support for these populations.

 

ENSURING PROVISION OF MEDICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CARE AND TREATMENT

Our NGO work with the most vulnerable (unaccompanied minors and people who have been forcibly displaced) who are cared for by the programmes run by our partners.

 

STRENGTHENING ADVOCACY

Based on research and knowledge gained from our experience, Médecins du Monde seeks to stimulate the development or revision of public policies on access to healthcare for migrants and internally displaced people.

After three years of implementing this programme, Médecins du Monde has partnership agreements with six public institutions, seven non-governmental civil society organisations and seven grassroots welfare organisations composed of migrants who have been expelled and the families of migrants who have disappeared. These organisations work along different stages of the migration route.

In 2019, Médecins du Monde also provided a response to the humanitarian needs of the Central American migrant caravans and stranded African migrants. We provided rehydration and hygiene supplies and medicines, as well as making medical staff available to organisations responsible for managing the situation, particularly the refuges which found themselves overwhelmed by these population flows.

 

 

 

In 2019

We:

  • provided care and treatment to 600 migrants
  • carried out 750 general medical consultations
  • provided 330 psychosocial interventions
  • supported 6 public institutions with training and technical advice
  • supported 15 local organisations with training

 

our institutional support

History
1998
Programme on access to healthcare for the indigenous communities of Los Altos de Chiapas, Mexico.
2004
Emergency intervention following Hurricane Stan, Mexico.
2007
Emergency intervention for victims of flooding in Tabasco, Mexico.
2011
Launch of a programme on access to healthcare for immigrant sex workers and domestic workers, Mexico.
2016
Opening of a regional programme to improve access to healthcare for migrants and people who have been expelled, El Salvador – Guatemala – Honduras – Mexico.

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