Operational Update for Central America and Mexico, August 2021 – Mexico

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Regional context

The ongoing multidimensional crises affecting El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, combined with a significant increase in humanitarian needs in a complex socio-economic context, have led to the development of Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) for each of the countries. Nearly 8.3 million people in the three countries are in need of humanitarian assistance (25% of the total population). Violence and displacement are described as relevant dimensions of the crises in these Central American countries, along with food insecurity and climate-related shocks.

The region faces increasing political instability. In Honduras, distrust of the electoral process manifested itself during the final registration of candidates, which resulted in security incidents. To date, at least 12 homicides are linked to the electoral process, in addition to cases of threats and coercion, according to the National Observatory of Violence.
In El Salvador, the constitutional reforms promoted by the government and the use of Bitcoin as legal tender have drawn mixed reactions.

In Costa Rica, the Directorate of Migration reports an increasing number of new nominations to file asylum applications by Nicaraguans. Between January and August 2021, a total of 44,445 Nicaraguan asylum seekers had expressed their intention to seek asylum in Costa Rica while 23,183 have already formalized their request in 2021.

The operation to end the MPP (“Remain in Mexico”) program was halted following a US Supreme Court ruling requiring the US government to “enforce in good faith the policy of protection protocols migrants”. In Mexico, August saw a dramatic increase in asylum applications from nationals of Haiti, overtaking Honduras as the country with the most asylum applications. Between January and August, 77,321 people applied for asylum in the country. Nearly 83% of all asylum seekers stranded in Mexican states bordering the United States said they had been victims of violence or threats, according to a report compiled by Human Rights First. Most Haitians arriving in Mexico are part of movements from Chile and Brazil.

In Panama, according to migration authorities, 70,376 people have crossed the Darien Gap so far this year (25,361 in August alone), mostly Haitians, followed by a growing presence of Venezuelans, Cubans and people from Asian and African countries. According to the Commission for Women, Children, Youth and the Family of the National Assembly, they have been victims of robbery, assault and rape in at least 170 cases currently under investigation by Crown.

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