REFUGEES AND MIGRATION FROM HONDURAS
10.04.2022 | BLOG
Leaving everything behind and setting off into an uncertain future… For many people this is hardly imaginable, but unfortunately it is part of our reality: according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, more than 82 million people are on the run worldwide. Every year, many thousands of people flee from Honduras towards the USA. We are all familiar with the images of refugees from Central America who reach the US border exhausted, but are by no means welcomed there with open arms. It is therefore important to fight the factors which are causing the people of Honduras to feel that migration is their only option, and to offer prospects for a self-determined life in their home country. This is exactly where the work of The Opportunity Project comes in.
We would be deeply grateful if you supported our work with a donation and helped to fight the causes of forced migration.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT IS A REFUGEE?
When someone leaves their home because of war or fear of persecution, they are known as a refugee. In terms of international law, a person is a refugee if he or she leaves his or her country because of "fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion".
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REFUGEE AND A MIGRANT?
The terms are often used interchangeably, yet there is a difference between refugees and migrants: a migrant is someone who leaves his or her home country of his or her own accord to build a better life in another place. By contrast, a refugee is someone who is driven by external circumstances.
WHAT TYPES OF MIGRATION ARE THERE?
Migration has existed since humans have existed. In the past, people migrated for food. Today it is mainly the prospect of better living conditions. There are two types of migration:
Regular Migration: Refugees officially cross the border with their entry documents.
Irregular Migration: Refugees do not enter through an official border crossing and thus violate the entry regulations.
Refugees who are in a country irregularly do not have the opportunity to take up legal employment.
WHERE DO MOST REFUGEES COME FROM?
The figures are alarming: more than one per cent of the world's population is on the run, of which around 42 per cent are children. The largest share is made up of refugees from Syria, followed by refugees from Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. A total of 20 percent of the refugees come from Central America, many of them from Honduras. In addition, the recent outbreak of war in Ukraine has of course also generated a huge number of refugees. However, it is not yet clear how exactly this affects international statistics.
WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE HONDURAS AND WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF FORCED MIGRATION?
Violence, poverty or persecution: these are all causes of forced migration that coerce Hondurans into making the more than 4,000km journey towards the USA. The current situation in Honduras is frightening. The country has one of the highest murder rates in the world and everything is at the mercy of organised crime. Various gangs terrorise the population and the drug trade is booming. Violence is a daily norm and social injustice is high. Often the police are powerless or simply look the other way. In addition, Honduras is significantly affected by the consequences of climate change. Extreme weather events such as droughts, hurricanes and floods destroy people's livelihoods - especially in rural areas - forcing them to flee.
Carlos Manuel Urbina - Co-Founder and Head of Community Initiatives - grew up with the topic of refugees and migration. In an interview, he talks about his experiences.
How do you perceive the issue of refugees and migration in Honduras? Do you know people who are thinking about fleeing?
Carlos: Migrating is a way to escape the collapse of many vital sectors such as health, education, housing and food that the country is currently enduring. It is also an opportunity to realize our goals and dreams. Most of my friends - or truthfully almost all of them - want to emigrate to Spain or the US. They don't do it only because they don't have enough money or they don't know how to pay the "coyotes" who will take them to the US.
What do you think are the main reasons why people want to leave Honduras?
Carlos: A complete lack of provisions to cover basic needs; there are no jobs, prices have gone up (inflation), there is insecurity around food and water, it is very difficult to start a business, and there are a lot of taxes for the state. The health system is awful: we don't have insurance and in the public hospitals there is no medicine and very poor care available. Further to all of this, not everyone has access to education.
HONDURAS MIGRATION: HOW TO FIGHT THE CAUSES OF FORCED MIGRATION?
Desperate, poor and without prospects, Honduran women decide to make the dangerous flight. But unfortunately, help for refugees is usually not to be expected in Mexico or Guatemala and the dream of emigration comes to an abrupt end.
It makes more sense to fight the causes of forced migration locally, to create structures that will enable people to live a stable life at home. At The Opportunity Project, we offer support from the outside and show families and communities how to make the most of their opportunities to stay in their country. Our goal is to work with Hondurans to break the cycle of poverty. Children, adolescents and adults gain access to education and learn how to build self-determined, sustainable lives. Would you like to support our work? Then please help us with a donation:
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE ISSUE OF REFUGEES AND MIGRATION IN HONDURAS
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the current situation in Honduras even worse. Around 70 percent of Honduran women work in the informal sector - such as selling fruit or vegetables on the street - and live from hand to mouth. Due to the pandemic, they have lost their jobs and have slipped into extreme poverty. There are too few medicines available in the country and the hospitals are overcrowded. The whole situation is exacerbating the social inequality which was already significant, and is once again driving many people to flee Honduras.
FAQ - REFUGEES AND MIGRATION FROM HONDURAS
What is migration explained simply?
Migration is Latin and means "to wander". Anyone who emigrates from their home country to live and work in another country is a migrant. There are different motivations for migration: many people flee war, poverty or famine.
Why do people leave Honduras?
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world. People fleeing Honduras leave their homeland because they find themselves in a hopeless situation. They expect to find better living conditions and higher earnings in another country, most often the US or Spain.
What are the causes of forced migration in Honduras?
Crime in Honduras is rampant; fear and violence are part of everyday life. In addition, there have been two devastating hurricanes in recent years that destroyed the livelihoods of many people. There are severe levels of poverty, no social protection and most Hondurans struggle to survive on a daily basis. More on causes of forced migration in Honduras.
How can the causes of forced migration in Honduras be combated?
It is important to create prospects for the future. The Opportunity Project works in poverty-stricken communities and promotes access to education and healthcare through various initiatives. We support people to create a sustainably healthy, self-determined and fulfilled life.