Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora
Panama – Senior officials of the International Organization for Migration (OIM) advocated in Panama for greater regional cooperation to address the crisis faced by thousands of irregular migrants, mostly Haitians, that cross the “Darién Gap ”from Colombia en route to the United States, which reaches record figures in 2021.
An IOM delegation visited the country where they met with authorities to learn about the work they do with migrants, and they traveled to the shelters in the province of Darién where foreigners stay for a few days before continuing their march to North America..
IOM Deputy Director General for Management and Reform, Amy Pope highlighted that this year the flow of migrants exceeded the records of the last decade as a whole due to factors such as the pandemic, political problems in the foreigners' countries of origin, natural disasters, and the lack of opportunities.
According to IOM records, some 124 a thousand migrants have passed through Darien until the beginning of November, of those ones 80 one thousand are Haitians, 10,599 chilean, Y 6,860 brazilians, in both cases children of parents originating in Haiti, Y 13,725 cubans, among other nationalities.
Given the complexity of the problem, Pope explained that integral solutions are urgently focused on a regular migration through safe paths, as thousands of families in search of opportunities expose themselves to the dangers of traveling undocumented by becoming victims of human trafficking.
Migrants traversing the inhospitable jungles of Darien complain of smuggling attacks, assailants, and wild animals, as well as extreme weather, as a result of which many die on the way as strangers for not having documents.
"Ultimately our goal is to make sure that migrants do not use Darien", said Pope for whom it is time to work on the necessary strategies for countries to ensure regular migration.
The senior executive explained that given the complexity of the problem, it is not enough to work on "... a solution that simply focuses on the United States border is not really a solution.", he added.
While, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations, Ugochi Daniels agreed that it is a "very complicated" issue that does not have "quick fixes.".
Ugochi stressed that the challenges are great, since in addition to ensuring the rights of people in mobility, work is needed to deal with hate speech and xenophobia.
Last October, IOM said it would look for some 74,7 million dollars to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants who move from the Caribbean and South America, and they cross Central America towards Mexico and the United States.