Thousands flee violence in Latin America

Perspective - 04/2014|Published 29. Nov 2014|Updated 15. Jun 2016
In December 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean will stake out a new course for the protection of the region’s displaced populations during the next decade. New displacement drivers require new regional measures.

In 2014, 90,000 unaccompanied minors are expected to arrive in the U.S. from Latin American countries. This unprecedented exodus has ignited a massive political debate. However, the plight of these children represents only the tip of the iceberg of a growing humanitarian crisis in the region.

During the last decade, violence in the context of mainly drug related organized crime and gang violence has caused thousands to flee their homes. Most of them never cross a border, let alone reach the U.S.

As Latin American and Caribbean countries are consolidating their efforts to assist displaced people in their region in the decade to come, new drivers of displacement – such as general violence, natural disasters and large development projects – are among the most contentious issues.

Fabiola (7) and her brother (12) are waiting to board “The Beast” in Arriaga in south Mexico, together with their parents José Luis and Angelica. They hope the infamous freight train will take them away from the violence they have experienced in their home country Honduras.

Photo: Alfredo Durante. The Cartagena Declaration 30 years ago, the Cartagena Declaration was developed by a group of governmental experts from Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.

The 1984 Cartagena Declaration, originally adopted by 10 countries, has been hailed as a flexible, pragmatic and innovative approach to protection needs in the wake of forced displacement and a model for other regions.

“The Declaration was an expression of solidarity with the displaced people in Latin America,” says Secretary General, Jan Egeland 

Read more about this in the latest edition of NRCs magazine PERSPECTIVE!

Read also the thematic report "Cartagena +30 - Displacement in the wake of violence in Latin America"