The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the publication of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection released on the sidelines of the Ninth Summit of the Americas, calling on the leaders of signatory states to strengthen their commitments to developing a truly harmonized and coordinated response to the humanitarian and displacement crises in Latin America.

Julio Rank Wright, Deputy Regional Director for Latin America at the IRC said:

“We welcome the intentions of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, including the will to foster a regional and hemispheric approach, as well as the emphasis on responsibility sharing, collaboration with civil society and the establishment of financial support mechanisms to support people on the move in the Americas. 

“The protection of refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people remains our top priority. Despite the positive commitments outlined in the Declaration, the IRC remains concerned about its implementation. The success of the Declaration will wholly depend on the concerted implementation of government protections throughout the region that take into account the needs of those most at risk of harm, including women, children, indigenous groups, and members of the LGBTQI+ community. In particular, we are concerned about the promotion of any regional mechanisms that could deter migrants and refugees from seeking protection through formal mechanisms, forcing them to take irregular pathways. Instead, it must be reinforced that seeking asylum is a legal right across the Americas and we recommend this Declaration be used as a rallying point for strengthening protection mechanisms across the hemisphere and promote the principle of non-refoulement.

“The tangible commitments by signatory countries today are commendable, particularly the bilateral agreements to provide protection and legal pathways to people on the move in the region, in addition to the US’ commitment to provide additional resources to the Global Concessional Financing Facility. However, it is unclear how these commitments will be monitored and evaluated. Without long-term funding and political will to protect those displaced throughout the region, the IRC is fearful that the Declaration’s intentions will fall flat and leave millions of people in the Americas behind.

“Now that the Summit of the Americas has come to an end, we ask world leaders to take this as a starting point and continue the work to develop a harmonized regional response. Durable solutions that address the root drivers of migration, as well as the most urgent needs of people in places of origin, transit and destination are required to face the humanitarian crises that are affecting millions in and from Venezuela, Northern Central America, Haiti, or Mexico.” 

In a recently published policy brief, the IRC outlined a broad set of recommendations that governments, multilateral institutions, and civil society actors should take into account as individual arrangements and agreements are negotiated following the Summit of the Americas. The IRC recommends that:

  1. Donors and host states agree to concrete commitments on financing, as well as responsibility sharing, and a framework for the harmonization of policies.
  2. International financial institutions incorporate lessons learned from multilaterally-supported and funded compact initiatives in humanitarian and protection emergencies around the world into the responses in Latin America. 
  3. Non-U.S. donors—such as the European Commission, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom or Japan—are engaged to rethink the approach to a humanitarian response in Latin America.

Download the full policy brief:

A Fractured Response: Policy Recommendations to Strengthen Regional Collaboration on Migration in the Americas