The tragedy after Fuego’s violent eruption on Sunday continues to unfold. Rescue teams have abandoned search efforts and families are now facing a psychological crisis as their hopes of finding their loved ones fade. At least 99 have been killed and dozens are still missing. There are more than 4,000 people accomodated in 21 temporary shelters out of more than 12,000 who have been evacuated. Esbin, age 3, Guatemala. Photo Credit: Save the Children Guatemala

Children like Esbin from Guatemala are benefiting from Save the Children’s ongoing and emergency response programs. Save the Children Guatemala, June 2018. 

Save the Children Responds In Solidarity and Support of Children at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Nonprofit Takes Urgent Action to Protect Migrant Children and Families Fleeing Violence in Central America

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 29, 2018) – Save the Children was founded in 1919 on the pioneering belief that every last child has the right to survive, learn and be protected. Today, we continue this work, advocating for children facing inhumane treatment and irreparable harm at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through all of the complexities of this crisis, one thing is clear and simple: we can and must do more to protect children and keep families together.

In response to this crisis, Save the Children is announcing new and expanded efforts to support vulnerable children, including supporting programs here in the United States, strengthening family reunification efforts, programming to address root causes in Latin America and continuing to speak out against policies that are harmful to children.

“Children and their families are fleeing unspeakable violence in their home countries and face a long and dangerous journey to the U.S. border, with the hope of a better life. Last year, I met a 13-year-old boy in El Salvador who recounted the story of how his best friend, beaten by a gang because he refused to join, died in his arms. After sharing that heart-wrenching story, he told me his fear: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever grow to be an adult in my country.’ No child should live with this kind of fear, with so little hope for the future,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. “Simply put, our children deserve better.”

SAVE THE CHILDREN’S ACTION PLAN

  1. Supporting Migrant Children and Families: Save the Children is taking action to assist migrant children and families affected by the Trump Administration’s actions in recent months. This includes providing financial and partnership support to trusted organizations who provide migrant families with legal representation, case management and reunification support here in the United States.

  2. Strengthening Child Reunification and Addressing Root Causes in Central America: Save the Children is committed to addressing the root causes of this crisis as well as supporting reunification efforts of separated children and their families in the El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Building on decades of work supporting children in the Northern Triangle Countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and Mexico, Save the Children is expanding and strengthening programs focused on protection, education and peace-building. We have dedicated teams on the ground in each of the Northern Triangle countries who, with an infusion of support, will be able to do even more to protect children and prevent displacement, as well as supporting families who return home after facing deportation by the United States.

  3. Speaking Out for Children’s Best Interests: Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network continue to mobilize our grassroots networks, supporters and advocates around the world to speak out and take action against policies that harm children. To date, we have generated nearly 65,000 messages to Members of Congress and more than 32,500 have signed a petition to President Trump and his Administration underscoring zero tolerance for policies and legislation that do not put children’s interests first.

PUSHING BACK AGAINST CHILD SEPARATION & FAMILY DETENTION – CALLING FOR REUNIFICATION

For nearly a century, Save the Children has always put children at the center of our mission. We have worked around the world with children who have been separated from family members as a side effect of natural disaster or war – in places like Indonesia, Yemen, South Sudan and Syria. We have seen first-hand the devastating trauma this separation can have. To have inflicted this trauma on children knowingly and intentionally is tragic and unconscionable.

While the policy of separating children from their families was shifted by Executive Order, there is still much more to be done to prioritize the well-being of migrant children.

  • We must send a clear message that indefinite family detention is not an acceptable alternative to separation. Keeping children in adult detention centers put them at risk for many adverse circumstances. This practice has been shown to have severe and lasting effects on a child’s development and psychological wellbeing, effectively robbing them of their childhoods. We will continue to urge Congress to uphold and strengthen procedural protections currently in place to ensure that migrant families are not detained in a way that is harmful to children. In addition, we will oppose any proposal to expand funding for additional detention centers designated for the indefinite detention of children – whether separated or together with their families.

  • We must urge the Administration to quickly and safely reunite the more than 2,000 children separated from their parents in the last month. Every moment that a child remains separated from his or her parent is a moment too long. We call for increased transparency from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security – these agencies and all involved must urgently provide specific plans to reunite children with their families.

  • Migrant children and their families need strong and skilled advocates to help them navigate the intricacies of United States immigration laws and to ensure their rights are upheld. Save the Children has worked with a number of committed experts since we responded to the Unaccompanied Children crisis in 2014. We will continue to work closely with these partners to support children and families and amplify our collective voice that not providing due process or upholding domestic and international humanitarian laws for asylum seekers is simply un-American. For nearly 250 years, America has served as a beacon of liberty, hope, safety and refuge for the world’s people.

ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE LATIN AMERICAN MIGRANT CRISIS

Many families arriving at the U.S. border are fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Honduras and El Salvador have two of the three highest child homicide rates in the world. Families leave their homes, running for their lives. They travel thousands of miles, risking assault and human trafficking on the dangerous journey to the U.S. border. When they arrive, they have a right to seek asylum.

Since the 1980s, Save the Children has worked to protect children living in these Central American nations so they are not forced to flee. Each year, Save the Children reaches 2.8 million children with protection, health and education programs in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. We provide early and primary education and violence prevention and peacebuilding programs in communities most affected by violence. We believe scaling up these programs is one of the most effective ways to protect children in the region and reduce the steady flow of asylum seekers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Save the Children is calling on all people who care about kids to use your voice and take a stand with Save the Children. Here’s how to get involved:

  • Give. Help Save the Children keep families together by addressing root causes in Latin America and protecting migrant children and reuniting families here in the United States. Sponsor a child from El Salvador affected by this crisis.

  • Sign Save the Children’s petition by visiting our website – to raise our voices to defend and protect the best interests of innocent children caught up in this man-made disaster. To date, more than 30,000 people from across the globe have signed on.

  • Call or write your Member of Congress – and the White House – and tell them that you believe in putting children first. To date, Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network advocates have generated nearly 65,000 messages to Senators and Representatives.

  • Participate. Show up for kids and participate in a Families Belong Together rally on June 30 – find an event in your community by clicking here.

  • Raise your voice on social media. Use the hashtag #PutChildrenFirst. Our collective voice can make a difference on this issue. Do your part and share with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and the world’s citizens to make sure the U.S. government does not continue these inhumane practices toward children. 

Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember that all children – whether they’re safe or in conflict, on the move or at home – deserve safety and a chance at a future. Save the Children has zero tolerance for policies that do not put children’s interest first. As our founder, Eglantyne Jebb declared: “The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.”

To learn more and to help, visit www.SavetheChildren.org/bordercrisis.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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