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Keeping families safe from irregular migration

POSTED December 11, 2018

Keeping families safe from irregular migration

Highlighting how we can keep children safe as we mark the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights

By Philip A. Tanner, Ph.D., senior director for policy & government relations

Teen with backpack

As the world gathers to mark the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights, it’s clear many are still fighting for those rights. In fact, 31 people are displaced every minute. Fleeing violence, gangs, conflict and poverty, people are seeking refuge where they can, while trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.

In the Americas, 43 out of 50 of the most murderous cities are cited to be in Latin America and the Caribbean. The frequency, intensity and organization of violence is causing experts to redefine how we distinguish between ‘armed conflict’ and other types of violence. It’s making life for people unbearable and forcing parents to make difficult choices — often resulting in children making dangerous journeys north.

So, more than 60 representatives of civil society, UN agencies and government joined recently in New York to examine progress on Preventing Irregular Migration in Central America and Mexico (PICMCA), a Christian Children’s Fund of Canada project, funded by Global Affairs Canada. The joint UNICEF and ChildFund Alliance (of which we are a member) event united experts to examine dangers faced by children and youth at risk of irregular migration, why it’s happening and how we can keep young people safe.

What was agreed:

  • violence is one of the most pressing reasons people leave their home countries
  • preserving family unity is crucial for children’s well-being and protection of their rights
  • protecting and respecting human rights means acknowledging a zero tolerance for separating migrant children and adolescents from their families, which is in line with recent news that nearly 85 percent of countries at the United Nations (including Canada) backed a non-binding accord to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration.
  • our PICMCA project is keeping children safe through preventative measures such as skills-training, safe spaces and policy-and-program changes in government
  • With your help, we are making a difference, and I commend the young people who are part of the PICMCA project for working together to create a ‘culture of peace’ in the region.

Learn more, today.

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Preventing Irregular Child Migration in Central America (PICMCA):

Children Believe is leading a $15.2-million regional project in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, designed to improve the well-being of children and youth who are at risk of irregular migration. The Government of Canada is contributing $12.6 million to the four-year project. The initiative addresses a number of the root causes that fuel irregular migration — from high levels of crime and violence, limited employment and educational opportunities, to social exclusion and a lack of information on the inherent dangers of migrating without following the normal immigration procedures. For this project, Children Believe is partnering with two non-governmental organizations: ChildFund International-USA and Educo.


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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