(NEW YORK) – President Obama met with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador today to discuss the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border involving the mass influx of unaccompanied migrant children. After the leaders met, Amnesty International USA reminded the United States of its obligation under international law to ensure that the rights of these children are respected and protected, including the right to individual hearings and the right not to be returned to a country which would endanger their human rights.
Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins encouraged the leaders to prioritize the human rights as they discuss the issue.
"It's crucial that any discussion between President Obama and Central American leaders on this issue prioritize the human rights of these children. Now is not the time for political posturing but a time to find a swift, just and compassionate solution to this humanitarian crisis. The U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that the human rights of unaccompanied migrant children are respected, protected and fulfilled. The human cost of this crisis will be compounded if it does not honor those obligations."
Amnesty International has documented cases of human rights abuses in all of these countries, such as the case of human rights defender Miriam Miranda, one of several members of an Afro-descendant Garífuna community in north-eastern Honduras who were temporarily abducted by armed men after discovering an illegal runway used by drug traffickers on the Garífuna community's territory.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.