Over the final months of 2020, the Auschwitz Institute’s Latin American Program held virtual events to present the 2019 and 2020 results of its technical assistance project for the prevention of atrocities in the face of the current migration crisis in Colombia and Ecuador, which was supported by German Federal Foreign Office funding through the zivik funding program of the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen). The first event, focusing on the Colombian portion of the project, took place on November 26, while the second event, focusing on Ecuador, was held on December 14. The events welcomed the participation of 80 and 90 attendees, respectively, who represented Offices of the Ombudsperson, Ministries of Defense, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and Ministries of Justice, as well as representatives from human rights organizations and international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
A short video was created to depict some of the project’s highlights from 2019 and 2020:
In Colombia, the project resulted in the design of two significant public policy proposals. These were created in response to evidence and recommendations collected over the course of the project with support from local leaders and represent a more cohesive approach to the development and management of migration policies that promote coherence and comprehensiveness, as well as reflecting both national priorities and the current reality of human migration.
The first resource is a guide that contains self-care mechanisms for migrants and refugees. This resource also includes a practical tool for civic leaders that provides workshop activities that aid in awareness-raising and works to combat the stigmatization of migrants. The second resource centers on the establishment of an Institutional Observatory on Human Rights and Integration for Migration. The plan outlines all areas and lines of work that the Institutional Observatory would engage in, including existing efforts that are exist across government offices.
In Ecuador, the project outcomes centered on the production of a baseline study on the status of human rights education in the country, in 2020 specifically focusing on the situation of children in Santo Domingo de Tsáchilas, a critical area for concerns over the status of migrants and refugees. The research-based resource developed alongside the Ombudsperson’s Office in Ecuador provides information to create actionable tools to promote a prevention-centric and human rights-centric approach to education in the country, complementing previously completed baseline studies in the cities of Quito and Ibarra.
Currently, in Ecuador, the Ministry of Education, Office of the Ombudsperson, and AIPG have begun discussing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that would work to strengthen future lines of work in the educational field and provide mechanisms for oversight. In Colombia, the Ministry of Interior has officially published AIPG’s guide of self-care mechanisms for migrants and refugees. AIPG is also working to organize planning meetings with the Office of the Omdudsperson in order to establish a working plan of activities for 2021.
The Director of AIPG’s Latin American Program, Eugenia Carbone, emphasized that:
The development of this project, including its constituent phases and components, shows that the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants and refugees is a priority for Latin American countries. This inspires and strengthens AIPG’s commitment to continue to provide tools for prevention. It also invites us to carry on supporting the community of public officials and representatives of civil society organizations in the creation of multi-sector networks that recognize the indispensable value of diversity in building a more inclusive and equal society.