UNICEF director Henrietta Fore Wednesday visited Honduras, which she emphasized is not a nation at war, though the rate of violence is astronomical. Since 2010, Honduras has been host to one of the highest murder rates in the world.
"Honduras continues to be a dangerous place for too many children and adolescents. The gangs sow terror throughout the country and offer young people an impossible choice: Join or die," she said.
Fore listened to the testimonies of the affected population and indicated that more than half a million children of school age do not have access to secondary education.
Un niño muere en Honduras cada día. Para un país que no participa en una guerra activa la cifra es asombrosa. Una educación de calidad y un fin a la violencia pueden ofrecer esperanza y mejores oportunidades para niños y niñas. #ENDViolence@unicefchiefhttps://t.co/nFFcBtfb0D
"Leaving school is the only way in which young people can escape the threats and harassment of the gangs, and their forced recruitment, especially when on their way to school they go through areas controlled by those," Fore explained.
Thousands of Honduran children and their families continue to be forced to escape from increased violence, poverty and few to no opportunities to attend school or work. UNICEF warned that the journey of migrants along very dangerous routes will continue until a solution for the problems that have led to the exodus is achieved.
One of the testimonies received by Fore asserted that "we do not migrate to have a better life, we migrate to survive."
Fore has called on the Central American governments to implement social policies that allow access to education and end violence. H
Her visit and comments come just as the “mother of all caravans” is building up in Honduras, according to Mexican authorities. At least 1,500 people have begun to march northward to Mexico and the United States following the footsteps of previous caravans that made similar journies last year many of whom were denied entry into the United States and are waiting in Mexico for their asylum applications. Others have received refugee status in Mexico.