Latin America & Caribbean

US child migrants: Honduras calls for anti-drugs plan

Honduran President Juan Hernandez Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Hernandez said the migration of young Central Americans to the US has gone up by 1,600% since 2013

Honduras President Juan Hernandez has called on the United States to create an anti-drugs plan for Central America.

Mr Hernandez said that poverty and drug-related violence have led to a sharp increase in the number of children trying to enter the US illegally.

The region lacks the resources to deal with the problem, he said.

Some 57,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at the US border with Mexico since October 2013.

"We have to recognise that our countries can't do it by themselves. We need the support of the US and Mexico in a common problem," Mr Hernandez said.

He was speaking at a special conference in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, to address the problem.

'War on drugs'

Mr Hernandez said there was a clear link between the violence generated by the drug-trafficking cartels operating in his country and the exodus of children.

"Seven out of nine children who venture on the dangerous journey towards the United States come from the most violent areas of Honduras.

"Those are also the regions where the drug cartels are most active," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A group of unaccompanied Guatemalan children was deported from the US-Mexico border this week

Mr Hernandez said the United States should set up in Central American anti-narcotics strategies implemented in Colombia and Mexico.

In both countries, however, critics said that the "war on drugs" policies backed by the United States led to an increase in violence.

The Organization of American States (OAS) President Jose Miguel Insulza called for immediate action.

"There must be an urgent solution to a regional crisis involving several countries," Mr Insulza said at the conference.

Last month, US President Barack Obama announced he was shifting border patrol staff to the US border with Mexico in the face of the "humanitarian crisis".

He also boosted aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, which will all receive millions of dollars to combat gang violence.

More on this story