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Press Release

As U.S. VP Harris visits Honduras, the IRC calls for stronger international cooperation to support the more than 2.8 million people in need

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomes the news of the visit of Vice President Harris to Honduras for the presidential inauguration of Xiomara Castro and calls for strengthening of international cooperation to address the humanitarian crisis that displaces hundreds of thousands every year.

According to the IRC’s 2022 Emergency Watchlist, Honduras is one of the 20 countries worldwide most at risk of experiencing a deterioration in its existing humanitarian crisis. With 2.8 million people already in urgent need of aid, over the year ahead the country will face chronic violence, climate-induced emergencies—which will contribute to economic decline and growing hunger—and health needs deepened by COVID-19

Meg Galas, Director for Northern Central America at the IRC, said:

“Already vulnerable people in Honduras are living in a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Women, children and the LGBTQ+ community are the ones most affected and we have seen the demand for services skyrocket, while the organizations delivering aid need increased resources to be able to staff up to meet the urgent needs.

“It is essential to address the root causes of forced migration, a strategy that the current U.S. Administration is adopting. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that it will take time for systems to change but families across Honduras cannot wait–they have immediate needs to be safe and secure. We need to address these immediate needs too.

“Gender-based violence continues to be a leading cause of displacement. We encourage Xiomara Castro, the first female president of Honduras, to prioritize actions to address this issue. As the new Administration takes office, we call on humanitarian donors, including the United States and the European Union, to allocate sufficient resources to respond to the immediate needs of vulnerable Hondurans, and call on the U.S. to strengthen asylum systems to protect those seeking safety outside the country.”

In 2022 Emergency Watchlist, the IRC identified a “system failure” in the international systems that are meant to prevent and address humanitarian crises. These failures span from the state level to the diplomatic and legal spheres and have ramifications in the operations of humanitarian aid, fueling the emergencies, the record numbers of displacement, and the increase in needs.

The IRC calls for a total system upgrade with a dual response that includes tackling both the symptoms and the root drivers of the system failure. As part of this response, and based on a report from June 2021, the IRC has outlined a series of steps to meaningfully address the crises affecting countries in Northern Central America, of which migration is a last resort, including:

  • Investing in humanitarian assistance in the region, providing resources to meet the specific needs of those who are internally displaced.
  • Promoting opportunities for people to find safety in their communities of first refuge.
  • Supporting returnees to reestablish their lives in their country of origin.
  • Building protection capacity and alternative pathways in the region.
  • Addressing the leading root causes of migration.

One year into the current U.S. Administration, the IRC calls for additional actions to also provide safety for those who continue lacking alternatives and are forced to leave their countries. In a report released last week, the IRC urged the Administration to:

  • End harmful policies, like Title 42 and MPP, and expand capacities to process asylum seekers at ports of entry.
  • Fund shelters at the U.S.-Mexico border to bring humanitarian reception to scale.
  • Provide resources to ensure protection services are available for vulnerable populations throughout the migration pathway.

The IRC in Northern Central America

Today, the IRC serves individuals and families in vulnerable situations or at increased risk for violence and displacement, including internally displaced individuals, returnees, women, girls, youth, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are survivors of gender-based violence. The IRC’s programming includes multi-purpose cash transfers to satisfy basic needs; the creation of safe spaces for women, youth and the LGBTQ+ community; case management and psychosocial support; and CuéntaNos, a digital platform–part of the Global Signpost project–to provide people with critical, up-to-date information and two-way communication and support with trained moderators.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.