Displacement caused by generalised violence is affecting communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Nearly 700,000 people have been internally displaced within these countries.
Criminal gangs exert heavy territorial control. Extortion, restrictions on mobility, threats and intimidation, kidnapping, sexual violence and homicides are common. Massacres occur regularly. This context has been likened to a war situation.
The internally displaced people live in slums or informal settlements in big cities that are increasingly controlled by gangs, and lack basic services, education, and income opportunities.
Despite nascent government efforts, the inability of the governments to protect people forces many to flee their countries. Most flee to Mexico and the US, or to Costa Rica and Panama. Hundreds of thousands are deported back to their home countries, where they require assistance and protection.
In 2018, Honduras, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Mexicans were in the top ten nationalities claiming asylum in the world, alongside people from Syria, Venezuela, South Sudan and Afghanistan.
People we helped in North Central America in 2019
We run operations in two countries in NCA. We work in Honduras, from our two field offices there, and in El Salvador, where we work in partnership with the Norwegian Red Cross and the Salvadorian Red Cross.
People fleeing violence often remain anonymous in fear of reprisals. This makes it difficult for humanitarian organisations, including NRC, to reach them.
In Honduras, we aim to ensure that children and youth have access to education and safe schools. Our teams:
- identify out-of-school children and youth, and establish study groups for those who want to continue their education
- prepare children to resume education activities and also to gain basic skills to remain safe
- promote and provide safe education opportunities
- support local and national institutions to fulfil displaced children’s right to education
- strengthen the capabilities of local communities, an important step towards safeguarding their rights
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
To protect Hondurans and Salvadorians who had to flee their homes, we:
- provide information and counselling rights to displaced people
- provide humanitarian assistance to Hondurans and Salvadorians in need of international protection who have been deported back from Mexico and the U.S.
- provide humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs
- support the Honduran and El Salvador governments at local and national level to develop legal frameworks and improve practices to protect the rights of the forcibly displaced
- provide services to ensure access to Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and housing, land and property rights for people in need of international protection in Panama and Costa Rica
- European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
- The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- Disaster Preparedness - European Commission (DIPECHO)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway (NMFA)
- Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (BPRM)
Your support will save lives and bring hope. Your support helps us to assist people fleeing extreme violence in Honduras and El Salvador.
About NRC in North Central America
Contact NRC North Central America
Country Director (based in Colombia)Dominika Arseniuk
Phone(+571) 514 0461
New caravans of Central Americans fleeing violence
Despite being deported at the Mexican border earlier this year, many Central Americans are embarking on the dangerous journey again in search of safety.
US denial of Central America’s crisis will backfire
While the caravans no longer march north, the Central American crisis is deepening away from our television screens.
Protection Snapshot: Extortion: a key trigger of internal displacement and forced migration in Central America and Mexico
In communities controlled by criminal groups in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, extortion is a part of daily life. People with small businesses, people working in public transportation, residents and children are particularly affected, and often have to close their businesses or be confined to their homes. Extortion is also one of the main reasons why people have to flee their homes in the North of Central America, as well as one of the main crimes that people are subjected to during displacement and migration through Mexico.
New asylum agreements are a threat to displaced people in Central America
The number of people trying to cross the US border is the highest in a decade. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes in the North of Central America (NCA), fleeing violence and persecution, seeking safety from the criminal gangs whose networks stretch across the region.
Protection Snapshot #5: The Impact of Violence on the Right to Adequate Housing in the North of Central America
In the North of Central America, the right to adequate housing has been impacted by decades of poverty, the absence of rule of law, corruption and discrimination, and is now being exacerbated by widespread criminal violence. Due to fear of reprisals from criminal groups, and the lack of protections for displaced people, many are unable to recuperate their houses or ensure that they are not sold illegally.