Launch of Framework and Recommendations for Action on Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean
Washington September 2010 - The International Organization of Migration (IOM) Washington, in partnership with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has launched the Framework and Recommendations for Action on Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean.
The first of its kind for the region, the publication is intended as a technical resource for government officials, NGOs and other stakeholders who provide assistance to children affected by migration in the region.
During an initial meeting attended by child protection specialists and other officials from eight CARICOM Member States (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago), the CARICOM Secretariat, and UNICEF, the group exchanged practical experiences, identified national strengths and weaknesses, and worked on the development of the framework and recommendations.
“As a result of this collaborative effort, this much-needed tool is ready and 4,000 hardcopies will be disseminated across the region,” explains, Chissey Mueller, Coordinator of IOM’s Caribbean Counter-Trafficking Programmes.
The working group indentified three general categories: 1) children who stay behind when their parents or legal guardians migrate, 2) children who have migrated unaccompanied or accompanied to a CARICOM country, and 3) children from CARICOM countries returning home.
Some children who stay behind when their legal guardians migrate lack basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing), proper adult supervision and care. Consequently, they can feel abandoned or rejected, become violent and delinquent, have greater risk to their well-being and development.
Children who migrate may not access basic services (education, health care, social services, identity documents), due to language barriers, lack of knowledge about available services, or fear of deportation. Children who return to their country of origin/birth in the Caribbean can encounter similar challenges, with a largely unfamiliar culture and social support system.
To assist these children, the working group developed the framework and recommended action for data collection, analysis and usage, policies and procedures, social services, education, health, psycho-social issues, and investment in human and financial services.
CARICOM Ministers of Labour were introduced to the elements of the framework and urged to take the necessary action to implement the framework during the Nineteenth Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development held in April this year. The Meeting urged Member States to implement the Framework and Recommendations for Action on Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean.
Since 2003, IOM has worked with its Caribbean partners to build on existing capacities that better manage mixed migration flows, by establishing mechanisms for screening, profiling and referring vulnerable cross-border migrants, by providing technical support to local stakeholders who are directly assisting these migrants (e.g. counseling, accommodation, food and other basic needs), and by promoting regional dialogue that fosters multilateral cooperation and coordination.
This publication is part of IOM’s project on Child Migration in the Caribbean, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).
For more information:
Chissey Mueller, IOM Washington DC, Tel: +1 202 862 1826, ext. 236; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Knight, email@example.com, UNICEF Barbados
Tamar Hahn, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.