Redressing Gendered Health Inequalities of Displaced Women and Girls

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Protecting Migrants or Reversing Migration? COVID-19 and the risks of a protracted crisis in Latin America

24 February 2022 0
Protecting Migrants or Reversing Migration? COVID-19 and the risks of a protracted crisis in Latin America

(Pia Riggirozzi, Natalia Cintra and Jean Grugel) in Lancet Migration.

Central and South American countries have experienced an unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants with an estimated 5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants and half a million from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras fleeing to neighbouring countries since 2015. Forced migration in these countries is associated with high levels of violence, ‘femicide’, political persecution, severe human rights violation and poverty. This situation raises important questions about crisis-stricken societies and calls upon governments in the region, as well as regional and multilateral organisations, to examine relevant policies to protect refugees and migrants. This is even more pressing in the context of COVID-19. The article explores the way COVID-19 is exacerbating failures in the protection of migrants’ right to health in Central and South America. Migrants have already been disproportionately affected by COVID 19 in the region, with the pandemic presenting an era-defining challenge to inclusive global governance. Given the scale of the crisis, it is argued that governments across Central and South America should ‘adopt policies that safeguard the right to health of migrants and refugees regardless of their legal status,  guided by international agreements that protect the rights of the most vulnerable’.

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