Human Rights Defenders
GHRC responds to threats and attacks against defenders, providing direct support, advocacy and solidarity.Learn More
Thematic Areas of Focus
GHRC currently monitors and provides analysis of five thematic areas that have affected human rights: militarization...Learn More
GHRC publishes timely news and analysis through our newsletter, El Quetzal, fact sheets, and other in-depth reports.Learn More
Each week, hundreds of Central American children, many unaccompanied, are arriving at the U.S. border. When they get here, they have already survived a long and perilous journey through Mexico, where extortion, kidnapping, rape, and murder are common; many survive these horrors only to die crossing the U.S. desert. Often these children make the journey north not by choice but because they face daily violence and life-threatening poverty; some are literally running for their lives.
The root causes of forced migration from Central America are linked to a complex set of factors that include rampant violence, poverty, corruption and high rates of impunity — conditions long exacerbated by U.S. policies. US security assistance to Guatemala and Honduras has contributed to counterproductive “iron fist” strategies and empowered forces accused of serious crimes and human rights abuses.
Many of the responses that have been proposed, like overturning the law passed in 2008 to protect children from human trafficking, will not only send children back to dire violence, but will also contribute to a cycle of forced migration. Other proposals, such as sending more funds to the military and police in Central America could well increase violence instead of improving security.