Initiative to protect female migrants in Central America

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week participated in the Central American Commission of Migration Directors (OCAM) 43rd Regular Meeting in Panama, which analyzed the state of migration in the region. During this meeting, IOM, as the OCAM Technical Secretariat presented a proposal for the implementation of a regional project towards the protection of female migrants.

The project would include strengthening of coordination between institutions and sensitization campaigns about the violence that affects female migrants and bettering these capacities for the psychological, social, and economic reintegration of migrant women and their families during the return phase.

Women represent approximately 53 percent of the total intraregional migrant population in Central America. The female heads-of-household not only migrate to provide for their families but also to improve their physical and emotional safety when faced with situations of domestic violence. The undocumented and irregular immigration status of most migrant women in their transit through Central America hinder women’s access to information, assistance, and proper guarantee of their fundamental rights.

The meeting also aimed to discuss the procedure to facilitate the approval of the Regional Migration Policy that will be presented to the heads of state of the SICA (Central American Integration System) countries. The migratory agencies also discussed the exchange of information and international collaboration with INTERPOL.

The Central American Commission of Migration Directors (originally called the Central American Organization of Migration – OCAM), was created in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1990 at the behest of the Central American presidents. OCAM responds to the need for a mechanism for regional coordination and consultation for the treatment of migration. IOM, as the Technical Secretariat of OCAM since 1999, provides advice and cooperation to its member countries in improving migration management.

“We live in a time in which migration is at the center of public attention. We have an important responsibility not only with our respective governments but also towards the wellness of migrants who cross our borders in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families. I am happy to join you all at these meetings that aim to respond in the best possible way to such responsibilities,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, in his opening speech of the meeting.

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