Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All
Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Summary record ( p artial )* of th e 413th meeting
Held at the Palais Wilson, Geneva, on Tuesday, 2 April 2019, at 3 p.m.
Chair:Mr. Ünver (Vice-Chair)
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 73 of the Convention (continued)
Second periodic report of Guatemala
In the absence of Mr. Tall, Mr. Ünver, Vice-Chair, took the Chair.
The discussion covered in the summary record began at 3.20 p.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 73 of the Convention (continued)
Second periodic report of Guatemala (CMW/C/GTM/2; CMW/C/GTM/QPR/2)
At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Guatemala took places at the Committee table.
Mr. Borrayo Reyes (Guatemala), introducing his country’s second periodic report (CMW/C/GTM/2), said that the Migration Code recognized the rights of migrant workers and members of their families and helped to reduce and prevent the irregular migration of Guatemalan citizens by providing for the establishment of inter-institutional coordinating bodies such as the National Migration Authority.
In accordance with the Code, specific migration regulations had been adopted, with more in the pipeline, and, within two years, the General Directorate of Migration would become the Guatemalan Migration Institute. Bilateral labour agreements had been concluded with Belize and Mexico, and meetings had been held by the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission, and with El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.
Campaigns were being conducted to inform emigrants of their rights and obligations. In 2018, some 6,000 pamphlets had been handed out to Guatemalan citizens moving to Canada on a temporary basis, and a further 2,500 had been circulated as part of an information campaign entitled “How to work in southern Mexico with your labour rights protected”.
Since 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been running a “Migrant Support” call centre in order to promote the well-being of Guatemalans abroad and improve the assistance given to them. In 2018, the centre had dealt with 1,017,564 telephone calls. In addition, 120 mobile consulates had been set up in Canada, Mexico and the United States of America, and had provided 85,538 services to 54,413 Guatemalans.
The national protocol for the reception and care of migrant children and adolescents was implemented to offer consular protection, assistance and care, and ensure interinstitutional coordination aimed at facilitating the safe return of Guatemalans abroad in a manner consistent with the principle of the best interests of the child. Since 31 May 2018, the National Civilian Police had been implementing a protocol of action for the protection of accompanied and unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents. During the course of 2018, a total of 5,119 children and adolescents had been looked after in the “Casa Nuestras Raíces” shelters run by the Social Welfare Secretariat. On 21 March 2019, rules of procedure had been adopted for the protection, determination and recognition of refugee status in Guatemala.
The protocol for the care of vulnerable migrant women, which had been drawn up in response to an increase in the number of such women travelling through Guatemala, was designed to guarantee the provision of appropriate assistance and guidance, including on rights and the obligations that needed to be fulfilled so as to avoid committing administrative offences.
Regulations on the registration, authorization and operation of recruiters, recruitment agencies and placement agencies of Guatemalan workers inside and outside Guatemala were still in the process of being adopted. In 2018, the agencies that were already recognized had recruited 18,118 Guatemalans for work in Canada and Mexico. In both countries, the majority of those recruited had been men.
To ensure the human and labour rights of migrant workers, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare was, for the first time, managing the recruitment of workers bound for Canada. In 2018, to monitor the labour conditions of Guatemalans, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Consulate General of Guatemala in Montreal, Canada, had carried out 130 inspections and had provided 5,282 support services. In 2019, it had been conducting weekly visits to workplaces where Guatemalans were employed.
In 2018, the Social Welfare Secretariat of the Office of the First Lady had assisted 3,784 people from 1,692 households who had travelled to Guatemala from Mexico and the United States of America. The Ministry of Economic Affairs was promoting the “Emprende Migrante” (Migrant, Become an Entrepreneur) programme and rolling out a protocol for the provision of assistance to migrants and a methodology guide.
The Social Welfare Secretariat was also promoting the implementation of the “Quédate” (Stay) programme, through which formal and technical education had been provided, since 2016, to 1,568 adolescents who had migrated or were at risk of migrating. In March 2019, a second “Quédate” training centre had opened. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the Governments of El Salvador and Honduras, had launched the “No Están Solos” (You Are Not Alone) campaign to discourage irregular migration and prevent the corresponding risks and consequences.
The Ministry of the Interior, in coordination with civil society, the private sector and key community-level stakeholders, was implementing the “Raíces Comunitarias” (Community Roots) project in 12 municipalities and 80 communities in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula and Quetzaltenango. The project, which received international backing from the United States Agency for International Development, sought to reduce violence, crime and irregular migration.
Through the National Alternative Education Programme, the Ministry of Education was working to expand the coverage of the non-formal education system by offering blended learning and distance learning courses. In 2018, Guatemala had hosted the first Specialized Conference on Human Rights of the Conference of American Armies, at which participants had discussed the treatment that the armed forces should give to migrant women and accompanied and unaccompanied children and adolescents in border areas.
Initiatives to raise awareness of the Recommendations Monitoring System at the national level had been launched in the departments of Petén and Quiché on 26 and 28 March 2019, respectively. The System was fed with information by the Inter-Agency Human Rights Forum, which currently comprised 56 State institutions.
Between January 2018 and March 2019, Guatemalan consulates abroad had been requested to notify the National Registry Office of 15,173 births, 1,774 marriages and 1,222 deaths, and had received applications for 5,685 child passports, 130 special travel passes and 83 travel authorizations. Pursuant to the Migration Code, migrant trafficking victims were entitled to legal aid and to have their particular needs recognized.
Guatemala, through its Department Against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons, had assumed control of the Technical Secretariat of the Regional Coalition against Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling during the period 2016–2018. The Coalition, which was composed of all the countries in Central America plus the Dominican Republic and Mexico, was implementing a regional strategy for the comprehensive care of trafficking victims.
The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare had set up 42 specialized hospital clinics to treat victims of sexual violence and human trafficking. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, 229 complaints of human trafficking had been filed between January and November 2018, while, according to the judiciary, 119 trafficking cases had been brought between January and August 2018.
In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior had adopted a protocol for dealing with sexual violence that was aimed at National Civilian Police officers working in the Victim Support Department. Meanwhile, in 2016, the National Coordinating Office for the Prevention of Violence against Women had been reopened.
Steps had been taken to raise awareness of the Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking, and radio announcements had been aired in 13 national languages as part of efforts to prevent sexual violence, exploitation and human trafficking. Furthermore, the Act on Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons had been translated into Braille, and training materials had been conveyed in sign language.
A free hotline had been established to enable victims and possible victims of domestic violence to receive advice and information on protection mechanisms from the National Coordination for Free Legal Assistance to Victims and Their Families of the Public Criminal Defence Institute.
Since Guatemala was a corridor for migrants, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences frequently received corpses that could not be identified using conventional methods and thus had to be interred in a manner that made later identification possible. With the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, a manual for the identification of human remains had been adopted to help standardize forensic practices for identifying corpses in a controlled, reliable and replicable manner.
On 9 April 2018, the President of the Congress of Guatemala had sworn in the executive secretary, undersecretary and representative of Congress within the Council for the Assistance and Protection of Migrants. The Council had developed four projects to be implemented in 2019 with the aim of: providing medical and psychological care, transport services and temporary shelter; implementing a round-the-clock monitoring system to receive information and requests for assistance from Guatemalans abroad; offer national training courses to discourage irregular migration; and carry out studies and investigations into migration.
The Government of Guatemala deplored the terrible events that had occurred in March 2017 in the Virgen de la Asunción safe home for girls and had adopted measures to transform the model of care for children and adolescents who required special protection. Survivors in need of medical treatment abroad had been granted migration permits. Moreover, by Congressional Decree No. 16-2018, 8 March had been declared a national day for the victims of the tragedy, and the 15 survivors had been awarded lifelong pensions.
The Vice-Ministry for the Prevention of Crime of the Ministry of the Interior, the Counsel General’s Office and the Social Welfare Secretariat had signed a tripartite agreement for the provision of comprehensive care to the survivors. The Secretariat had also approved the granting of a family allowance to victims, which could be used to facilitate their family reintegration and ensure the provision of psychosocial and educational support.
In October 2018 and January 2019, caravans of migrants had entered Guatemala on their way to the United States of America in search of better living conditions. The Government had responded by taking steps to protect the safety and health of the persons involved, in particular those belonging to vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied minors, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and older persons.
As a result of a meeting between the Presidents of Guatemala and Honduras, at which it had been clear that it was in the strong interests of both countries to discourage mass irregular migration, a significant number of Honduran nationals had voluntarily returned to their country, and the Government of Guatemala had instructed the Guatemalan Migration Institute to take inter-institutional measures to deal with the entry, transit, exit and return of migrants. Moreover, high-level coordination efforts had been made with the Governments of El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico in order to resolve the situation and ensure respect for the human rights of migrants and their families.
It was estimated that around 11,800 migrants had entered Guatemala in 2018 and that a further 7,998 had entered the country in the first three months of 2019. In January 2019, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare had adopted a migrant caravan contingency plan, which had enabled the provision of support to 6,927 people. At the regional level, a proposal had been made to the Central American Integration System concerning the adoption of a mass migration alert protocol, which would help countries to detect the different phases of unusual migratory flows.
Ms. Landázuri de Mora (Country Rapporteur), welcoming the presence of a large and varied delegation from the State party and the provision of information to the Committee by Guatemalan civil society organizations, said that it would be useful to receive detailed information on the process by which the General Directorate of Migration would become the Guatemalan Migration Institute, the participation of civil society in the drafting of the State party’s report and, more generally, the opportunities that existed for civil society to cooperate with the Government and the national migration authorities.
She would appreciate statistics on the numbers of disappeared migrants in Guatemala and disappeared Guatemalans abroad. The delegation should respond to reports that at least 200 Guatemalan migrants were currently missing. She would also welcome information on any steps taken to prevent the forced migration of indigenous peoples and the labour exploitation to which they were exposed in transit and destination countries. In that regard, she wished to know what had been done to ensure that such peoples could access relevant information in their native languages and were fully aware of avenues for making claims concerning the protection of their rights.
She asked what specific measures had been adopted to prevent criminal gangs from persecuting and exploiting migrants, provide protection and comprehensive redress to victims and arrest, prosecute, convict and punish perpetrators. She also wished to know what was done to facilitate the mental and physical recovery and social reintegration of migrant returnees, particularly children whose families remained abroad.
Mr. Botero Navarro (Country Rapporteur) said that, bearing in mind the challenges inherent in the State party’s relatively new status as a country of transit and return, he wished to know what steps were being taken to prevent and punish the extortion of migrants, some of whom required international protection, by the police and border officials, to ensure access to a complaint mechanism for migrants and to improve confidence in the authorities. Information on any investigations, prosecutions and sentences in connection with cases of extortion involving public officials, as well as on the role of the police in migration-related activities, would be welcome. He would also appreciate information on how the General Directorate of Migration selected whom it placed in its shelter and ensured respect for the principle that the detention of migrants should be used as an exceptional measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time. It would be helpful to know how the State party prevented the arbitrary detention of migrants on account of their irregular situation and what safeguards were in place to encourage migrants to report violations to the authorities without fearing detention.
Noting reports that the State party’s main focus in relation to the migrant caravan had been to return the migrants, he would appreciate the delegation’s comments on whether the migrants’ situation, including their eligibility for international protection, was assessed on a case-by-case basis and whether the returns were voluntary. It would be interesting to hear how the State party would ensure that the rights of migrants, for instance to enter and exit a country and to apply for asylum, were respected under the memorandum of understanding recently signed with the United States Department of Homeland Security, Honduras and El Salvador. It would also be interesting to know what measures were taken or planned to criminalize hate speech against migrants, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Lastly, what steps were being taken to ensure that megaprojects, in combination with poverty and climate change, did not cause further forced displacement?
Mr. Kariyawasam said that, since two of the main countries of destination of Guatemalan migrants were not parties to the Convention, it befell the State party to make extra efforts to ensure that their rights were protected in those countries. In that connection, he would appreciate further information about the scope of the mobile consulate scheme. Regarding Guatemalan migrants who returned to the State party because of legal problems in their country of destination, such as breaches of contract by employers, it would be interesting to know whether they were provided with lawyers upon their return and whether the Guatemalan authorities could take legal action in the country of destination on their behalf.
Ms. Dzumhur asked whether the State party had readmission agreements with any of the countries of destination and, if so, how they functioned in practice, in particular with regard to legal assistance and health care. She wished to know what institution was responsible for monitoring the migration situation and how many complaints it received. It would be helpful to know whether the State party had adopted anti-discrimination provisions in respect of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to receive data on the prosecution of perpetrators of violence against women. She would welcome the delegation’s comments on the measures taken to ensure the secure, low-fee transfer of remittances, any strategies regarding trafficking in persons and the nature of the training provided to diplomatic staff, border officials and the police.
Mr. Núñez-Melgar Maguiña said that he welcomed the fact that the State party had mainstreamed the issue of migration across government departments. Given that Guatemala was among the countries with the highest level of remittances, it would be interesting to know: whether money transfers had been incorporated into the banking system; how the Government facilitated the transfer of remittances, including through guarantees; what benefits the recipients of remittances were entitled to as a result of their greater purchasing power; and how the additional tax revenue was being used. He would appreciate information on how the State party protected Guatemalan workers who were recruited abroad by private employment agencies and how proactive its consular offices were in maintaining communication with the authorities in countries of destination so that they were kept informed whenever a Guatemalan national was detained.
Mr. Frasheri said that he would like to know how the State party was fostering coordination of migration issues with countries in the region, who was involved in those efforts and what challenges and obstacles the State party faced in that regard. He also wished to know what remedies were available to Guatemalans abroad and to those who returned, as well as what capacity-building for public servants was envisaged and what assistance the State party might require, including from United Nations and regional bodies, in that domain.
The meeting was suspended at 4.30 p.m. and resumed at 4.55 p.m.
Mr. Borrayo Reyes (Guatemala) said that the equality of all human beings was enshrined in the national Constitution. The actions his delegation would describe were those of the State of Guatemala, not just of the Government. The joint efforts made recently by the Governments of Guatemala and Honduras had been exclusively focused on ensuring the safe and voluntary return of persons in the migrant caravans.
Guatemala strictly fulfilled the rulings regarding indigenous peoples issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. However, the situation of such groups was often complicated by the fact that they were occupying private property or protected areas. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) should make funds available to countries such as Guatemala, which had limited resources and faced the dual obligation of preserving extensive protected areas while, at the same time, safeguarding the human rights of the persons who occupied them. On 4 February 2019, the President of the Republic had ordered the purchase of an area of land in the Department of Petén to meet the needs of two large indigenous communities that had been displaced.
Mr. Morales Cancino (Guatemala) said that all aspects related to migration in Guatemala, including the entry, transit and departure of migrants and the protection of their human rights, were managed by the National Migration Authority, the National Council for Assistance to Migrants and the Guatemalan Institute of Migration. The orderly inter-institutional coordination between those bodies was regulated by the Migration Code, which had come into force in May 2017.
Under the Code, the National Migration Authority, which was chaired by the Vice-President of the Republic, had the role of drafting general migration policy and overseeing its implementation. For its part, the Guatemalan Institute of Migration was a decentralized agency responsible for implementing migration policy, administering the budget allocated for that purpose and safeguarding the human right to migrate. A two-year transition plan was in place under which functions previously exercised by the General Directorate of Migration would gradually pass to the Institute of Migration.
Mr. Borrayo Reyes (Guatemala) said that the State abided by the provisions of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the measures it took to protect Guatemalan migrant workers abroad.
Mr. García Saénz (Guatemala) said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was responsible for the welfare of Guatemalans abroad, currently ran 11 consular offices in Mexico, 19 in the United States and 1 in Canada. In the United States each consulate had a lawyer on hand to provide legal services to migrants, regardless of their migration status. The consulate in Canada had, on a number of occasions, intervened directly to support migrant workers whose rights had been violated. Mobile consulates were active in areas where there were large concentrations of Guatemalan workers but no fixed consular office; 120 mobile consulates had been in operation in the United States in 2018.
The authorities were aware of 1 Guatemalan who had disappeared in Australia, 1 in Costa Rica and 647 in the United States and Mexico. In each case, the competent consular officials would request the local authorities to keep them informed of any developments that might have a bearing on the case of the missing persons. In a number of instances, persons had been found alive and had been duly provided with consular assistance.
A committee within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with civil society, the private sector and accredited consular officials of foreign States in Guatemala with a view to assisting migrants in the country, both foreign workers and Guatemalans returning from abroad. The Governments of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico were working on a plan to develop frontier areas with a view to preventing irregular migration.
Mr. Borrayo Reyes (Guatemala) said that the Presidential Commission for the Coordination of Executive Policy on Human Rights coordinated with the Office of the Prosecutor for Human Rights to support legal action against persons who disseminated racial hatred.
Mr. Romero García (Guatemala) said that records did not show that extortion by public officials against migrants was taking place on a regular basis. However, there were isolated instances and, depending on the nature of the case, perpetrators might face administrative and/or criminal sanctions. The Office of Professional Accountability of the National Civil Police was currently investigating a case involving alleged extortion against Cuban migrants on the part of police officers.
The police had developed procedural protocols to standardize its interventions in support of migrants, forestall any arbitrary measures against them and ensure that all police activities were conducted within the juridical framework protecting human rights. In addition, a security plan had been rolled out for the protection of persons travelling along the country’s migration routes. The purpose of the plan was to coordinate the activities of governmental and non-governmental actors, particularly with a view to ensuring the migrants’ physical safety.
The mandate of the National Civil Police did not cover migration per se, and the police intervened only to identify persons and verify whether they were in the country lawfully. Otherwise, cases were referred to the Guatemalan Institute of Migration. A project entitled “Community Roots” (Raíces Comunitarias) had been launched by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Vision International. The aim of the initiative, which targeted 12 municipalities in 8 different departments, was to curb irregular migration by combatting violence and criminality.
Mr. Aguilera Bolaños (Guatemala) said that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare had reinforced its Labour Mobility Department, which was part of the General Directorate of Employment. It had intervened directly in the recruitment of migrant workers; for example, the process for selecting Guatemalan workers for temporary employment in Canada had been entirely developed by the Ministry, and two labour mobility offices had been opened on the frontier with Mexico for the registration of migrant workers moving into that country.
Regulations for the authorization, registration and supervision of private recruitment bureaux were being developed and would hopefully be rolled out before the end of the year. In the meantime, the Ministry had run a nationwide anti-fraud campaign and was seeking to encourage victims of abuses to report their complaints to the authorities. The Ministry also provided support for returning migrants and persons at risk of migration via a special helpdesk, the “Quédate” (Stay) programme and certificates for migrants who had learned a trade but lacked official qualifications.
Ms. Müller Cabrera (Guatemala) said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs formulated public policies and created strategic alliances with a view to promoting development. It had taken steps to stimulate the economy in areas blighted by extreme poverty, helping local craftspersons sell their wares on local and international markets. Measures had been put in place to improve the productivity and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and to facilitate their access to loans and financial services, thereby providing commercial opportunities that would generate employment, improve quality of life, combat poverty and contribute to the sustainable development of Guatemala. In 2018, a total of 2,280 loans had been disbursed to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the Ministry offered personalized consultancy services, training and technical assistance.
In 2019, around US$ 9 million had been received in workers’ remittances. Charges for sending remittances were not regulated but were set by the private sector. However, no taxes were levied on such charges. Remittances could be made in a number of ways but, in an effort to combat money-laundering, there was a US$ 3,000 limit on cash transfers.
Mr. Figueroa Álvarez (Guatemala) said that Guatemala had 42 specialized clinics that provided care to victims of sexual violence and psychological abuse. Patients in such clinics received a personalized plan for their treatment and rehabilitation. With respect to migrants, 19 cases of sexual or psychological violence relating to 18 women and 1 man had been brought to the attention of the health services in 2018. In the first three months of 2019, 13 such cases had been reported in relation to 10 women and 3 men.
Ms. Contreras Mejía (Guatemala) said that the national protocol for the reception and care of migrant children and adolescents incorporated three basic processes: consular protection, reception, and social reintegration. Inter-institutional coordination ensured that all State bodies mandated to protect children and adolescents played a role. Unaccompanied minors who entered the State territory were interviewed to determine whether any of their rights had been violated. If a violation had occurred, a competent judge decided on the protection measures required. Where there was a risk of further violations, children were referred to the relevant department of the Social Welfare Secretariat of the Office of the President for monitoring. The State provided educational and vocational programmes to assist children’s reintegration into the community.
Mr. Narez Noriega (Guatemala) said that the National Council for Assistance to Guatemalan Migrants had been established by Congressional Decree No. 46 of 2007 and had formally begun its work on 1 October 2008. The Council sought to guarantee the security, dignity and integrity of Guatemalan migrants and their families, Guatemalan returnees, and foreign nationals currently in Guatemala. The plan of action pursued by the Council for 2019 focused on protecting the human, labour and civil rights of the migrant population, and developing economic development programmes for migrants and their families.
The Council collaborated closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide protection and assistance to Guatemalans working abroad. It also ran awareness-raising campaigns to inform migrants and returnees about the services available to them. The Council’s mandate required it to provide assistance and legal advice to Guatemalan returnees and their families, as well as to migrants living in Guatemala. Moreover, the Council was designing and implementing activities to enhance the technical capacities and expertise of its human resources. Lastly, it was seeking to increase inter-institutional collaboration with other State and private-sector entities.
Mr. Borrayo Reyes (Guatemala) said that the Presidential Human Rights Commission periodically held seminars, workshops and conferences aimed at strengthening respect for the human rights of all persons in Guatemala, including those for whom Guatemala was a transit country.
Ms. Landázuri de Mora said that she would like to know more about the procedures in place to protect the right to family reunification of Guatemalans in the United States of America. Did the State party have any examples of good practice or positive outcomes that the Committee could share with other countries? She would welcome information on what the State party was doing to overcome and counteract discourse that incited hatred towards and violence against migrants. With respect to cross-border cooperation, it would be useful to know the State party’s views on the expected impact and prospects of the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle. She wished to know whether the State party had attempted to develop a plan with Mexico to remedy the problems recently seen at various crossing points on the border with that country. In addition, the State party should explain what measures it was taking to protect the rights of people in transit.
Mr. Charef said that he wondered why the delegation had referred to collaboration with Mexico and Honduras but not El Salvador. Although the delegation had spoken about border issues in relation to the comprehensive regional framework, no mention had been made of migration for development reasons, or to cultural aspects. Such elements could usefully inform the State party’s efforts to develop subregional diplomacy. He wished to know whether measures were in place to reduce the costs of sending remittances to Guatemala.
Mr. Botero Navarro said that he would welcome further information on the measures that the State party was taking together with countries of origin, transit and destination in relation to migrants who had disappeared. He wondered whether the Government planned to create any national mechanisms to assist the search for those individuals. Moreover, he wished to know how many Guatemalan migrants had disappeared to date, and what support measures were in place for their family members.
In relation to children returned by the State, either unaccompanied or with their families, he wondered how the best interests of the child were determined and what contact the Guatemalan authorities maintained with countries of origin to ensure that children arrived safely and received adequate protection.
As the mass migration recently seen in the Central American corridor was likely to continue, the State party should consider how best to tackle the causes underlying migration, provide humanitarian assistance to those involved in mixed migration flows, protect people during and after displacement, and implement sustainable solutions. The Government should not attempt to outsource the security aspects of migration, as doing so would create a time bomb and aggravate the problems faced.
He would welcome information on whether the State party was planning channels for orderly migration in the light of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. As the latest indications suggested that Guatemala, like Mexico, was becoming a destination country for migrants, he wished to know what the State party planned to do to provide regularization proceedings for migrants who entered the country and wished to remain. It would be useful to know how many migrants had sought asylum in Guatemala in the last five years and how many had received refugee status or international protection.
With respect to family reunification, he would appreciate further information on the challenges faced in the implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy. Specifically, he would like to know how many Guatemalan families had received care or attention from the State, and how many had been reunified in the United States of America.
He wondered whether plans were in place to provide training for civil servants on how to discharge their human rights obligations with respect to migrants. Was the State planning to put in place any specialized mechanisms to investigate crimes against migrants or allow migrants to report violations of their rights?
Mr. Kariyawasam said that he would welcome statistics on the work undertaken by lawyers in the various consulates to pursue justice for Guatemalan migrants in North America. Specifically, he wished to know how many cases had been filed and what percentage of those had been successful.
Mr. Oumaria said that, as many Guatemalans worked in countries that were not particularly welcoming to migrants, it would be desirable for the State party to implement a policy for the return and reintegration of such workers. Remittances should be used to benefit Guatemalan institutions that could assist migrants on their return, for example by building homes. As some of the States that received Guatemalans were not parties to the Convention, he wished to know whether any bilateral agreements with those countries had been planned or put in place.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.