Sara and Henry. Two faces of Venezuelan migrant children in the Side-Event of Migrant and Refugee Children in the Quito Process
September 23th - Today the virtual event on Migrant and Refugee Children was held within the framework of the Quito Process. The objectives of the event were to expose the problem of the protection of Venezuelan migrant and refugee children in the current context and the acceptable practices in the protection of children and adolescents between different countries; as well as presenting the progress made in promoting the coordination of policies among members for the protection of migrant and refugee children and adolescents and proposals for their development in coming months.
The Quito Process is the definition given to a group of Latin American countries that came together to respond to the migratory crisis in Venezuela. This multilateral instance was established after the so-called Quito Declaration on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Region, on September 4, 2018, in the city of Quito, by 13 countries met to exchange information and articulate regional coordination to the Venezuelan migration crisis.
In the virtual event, representatives of Foreign Ministries, Child Protection Systems, and other authorities of each country involved in the Quito Process were present and representatives of the United Nations and international organizations involved in promoting the protection of childhood.
The most important thing about this event was that it gave space on it for the first time to listen to the voice of girls and boys. It was a process resulting from the management of Save the Children and MMI LAC, together with UNICEF. On this occasion, two Venezuelan migrant adolescents living in Peru (Sara, 17), and another who lives in Colombia (Henry, 13), were the center of attention. Their peers selected both in an initial consultation process. Workshops were carried out with representatives of five countries in the region (Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay). This workshop was developed by Save the Children and the MMI LAC. The participating children and adolescents defined their points of concern and their proposals to be raised in this space by part of these two representatives.
"My story began in this country sixteen years ago; I am a leader of participation and an enthusiastic activist in violence and gender prevention programs." "This is a complicated process for everyone, especially for children, nobody He asked about migrating, it just happened, "Sara said. "Leaving our homes, our territory, and our nation, to search for a better future, is a difficult situation that affects us physically and emotionally as we suffer discrimination, rejection, and exclusion," said Henry.
He also expressed the proposals made by him and his peers during the previous workshops, which were: to carry out regional media campaigns against xenophobia, to serve the population with disabilities, homologation of studies, work for their parents, that the States defend the rights of migrant children regardless of their migratory status, the possibility to express their opinions and participate, a refuge for migrants and accommodation when they arrive in the country of destination.