The challenge of migrating with dignity in Colombia
Migrating should not endanger anybody's life or dignity.
However, the conflict and violence that occur along borders or on the migration route pose additional risks for those who come to the country in search of a better life or international protection.
The needs of migrants are urgent, in particular access to health care, hygiene and water.
Along the route, they are exposed to multiple risks – such as extortion, labour or sexual exploitation, abuse and physical and psychological threats – as well as the presence of armed groups. Some people have lost contact with their relatives; others were separated on the road.
The State is responsible for meeting the needs of migrants, returning Colombians and receiving communities.
Care for this population is particularly necessary in areas affected by conflict or armed violence.
In the field, we witness the struggle experienced by entire families, by single people, by people with disabilities and even by unaccompanied minors who undertake long and exhausting journeys.
The fact that many migrants do not have documents makes them more vulnerable – especially if they are minors – and creates greater difficulties for their protection and for access to basic rights and services, such as education or health.
Colombia is making a significant effort, but it is not an easy task due to the magnitude and complexity of the phenomenon.
It is an issue that requires the support of the international community, as well as close cooperation between all the recipient countries and organizations with experience of this problem, in order to ensure orderly, safe and secure migration and to guarantee the protection of migrants' rights.