UN Recognizes HIAS’ Cross-Border Response in the Darién Gap

HIAS’ cross-border program for displaced people crossing the Darién Gap and Central America is among the top 10 global best practices designated by the United Nations Network on Migration (UNNM) and the International Migration Review Forum (INMR).

Every two years, the agencies submit a report to the UN Secretary-General with recommendations on initiatives to strengthen cooperation for displaced persons, and to prevent the loss of lives during transit. Among the initiatives selected globally this year is HIAS’ innovative cross-border program implemented with funding from AECID, UNHCR, and the Hilton Foundation.

“We are gratified by this recognition of HIAS’ efforts in providing life-saving services to displaced people making this dangerous journey throughout several countries,” said Cristina Garcia, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for the LAC region. “This comes as the number of people crossing the Darién Gap in 2023 surpassed the historic maximum of half a million, highlighting the magnitude and urgency of the risks faced by those seeking safety and protection.”

HIAS’ cross-border initiative between Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras, has provided an innovative programmatic response to gender-based violence (GBV) along the migratory route, by offering psychological first-aid and legal support to survivors and those at risk. The services include protection advice to women and LGBTQ people, to help them improve their resilience in the face of potential further violent incidents.

HIAS’ research teams also work alongside field staff to gather information and produce regular reports about current humanitarian and protection trends on the ground. These analyses are used to adapt operations according to the fast-changing dynamics of the mixed flows of the region.

HIAS works in 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and advocates for meaningful protection and sustainable inclusion for the 22 million people in the region displaced by violence, climate change-related risks, and economic hardship, among other factors.

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