TSF collaborates with IOM to ensure migrants in Central America are aware of their rights

Publication date: Sep 08, 2021
TSF's team visiting the center of Tijuana, Camino de Salvacion

I didn’t know that we, as migrants, had all these rights. It is really helpful,” said Ana Maria (her name has been changed to protect the migrant’s identity), a Honduran migrant in the shelter of Puerta de Esperanza, Tijuana, talking about TSF’s information diffusion mission. This sentence summarises in a few words the importance of this project for migrants seeking a brighter future.

Thanks to a collaboration started in March this year with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), TSF has included 10 additional attention centres to its information diffusion mission in Mexico. “We are particularly pleased to see the collaboration with IOM starting this year. This further demonstrates that the mission we started in 2017, covering just 5 shelters, has proved to be effective and impactful”, says Armando Samayoa, TSF Delegate for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Adriana Hernández and Bivani Martinez, Project Assistants for IOM in Mexico confirm: “The system provides the tools that empower them through knowledge and has allowed people to make important decisions about fraud and deception prevention, security, and access to their fundamental rights, such as health in transit territories. It also opens windows of opportunity for them to access services and support provided by organiations in Mexico, thus allowing sustainable and informed migration.”

Indeed, many migrants arrive in Mexico unaware of their rights, which adds up to the vulnerability already caused by being in a foreign country, with limited to no resources, and puts them even more in danger. The information diffusion mission provides them with duly selected, reliable information on which they can base important decisions for their present and future. “I feel safer and more empowered. It helped me to know that I have rights as a migrant. For example, it helped me to make the decision to apply for asylum and ask for help, and to know that you don’t have to do all of this alone,” Ana Maria continues.

The information provided is carefully selected based on each shelter’s location and the profile of the assisted population. It covers different elements that can be relevant for the safety and future of the migrants. “I found useful all the information displayed on the screen. The process to file a complaint, the information to seek help and the local information. It really has a positive impact. In Honduras it would be very useful: there are people who arrive with fear,” Ana Maria tells us.

From the migrant shelter side, Adriana Hernández and Bivani Martinez confirm how some information can have a tremendous impact on addressing serious threats to the respect of migrants’ rights: “We consider of utmost relevance all information on the prevention of human trafficking, as well as health and well-being. These are issues that are still a challenge for people in transit, so bringing them closer to this information implies a further step to combat these serious problems”.

In 2021, thanks to different collaborations, which include the one with IOM, but also with other international organisations such as Help.NGO, the mission will reach 41 shelters, including pilots outside Mexico, in Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia.

TSF continues to work in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the region to ensure the information is always adapted to the needs of these migrant populations and that it helps them to regain their capacity of choice.

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