Thousands of migrants cross Central America and part of South and North America, in search of obtaining a stable economic condition and better living conditions in their final destination: the United States of America.
To do this, they must cross dangerous areas, such as the Darién Gap, a vegetal zone that extends between the border of Colombia and Panama. There, according to the Doctors Without Borders Organization, migrants experience violence of all kinds.
The organization works in the area providing medical care. During April, they treated an average of 78 patients per day, and from January 1st to May 30th, 2022, 100 people daily who were victims of sexual violence.
According to testimonies of patients treated by the organization, traveling along this route implies exposing oneself to theft of belongings, rape and even losing one’s family; Also, they assure that decapitated human bodies can be observed on the tour, situations that require psychological help.
Main sources of migrants
Data from the National Migration Service of Panama indicate that from January to July 2022, 48,430 migrants entered this dangerous route. Of them, 58% are Venezuelan, 7.9% Haitian and 5.2% Cuban; however, migrants from up to 50 different countries have been counted.
Human rights personnel visited the area
Human rights defenders from Central America, among them the Defender of the Inhabitants of Costa Rica, Catalina Crespo, together with the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, participate in a tour in Canaán Membrillo and the station of migrants from San Vicente, in Darien, Panama.
The objective of this visit is to learn about the conditions of migrants who arrive in Panamanian territory, passing through Costa Rica on their way to the United States. During the visit, human rights defenders verified the health conditions of those who migrate, in addition to the violence to which they are exposed when passing through the area. For this reason, they called for the protection of women and minors.
Venezuelan migrants in Costa Rica
According to the Ombudsman’s Office, the institution has followed up on the situation of Venezuelan migrants entering Costa Rica, especially the health of children and young people.
To do this, the defense entity requested from the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration, a detail of actions coordinated with State institutions to address the situation, in addition to reporting on the number of Venezuelans who have arrived in Costa Rica irregularly. It also requested a report from the National Children’s Board (PANI) on the planning it carries out for the care of minors who make up these migrant families.