Urgent Action Needed for Displaced Children and Adolescents

Urgent call to see to girls, boys and adolescents in forced displacement due to armed violence in Chiapas

From the Network for the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas (REDIAS) we express our deepest concern about the escalation of armed violence in the state and its impact on children and adolescents; particularly around the most recent events at the Southern Border and in Chenalhó.

According to journalistic sources, since May 26th a heavy armed confrontation began in the municipality of Frontera Comalapa where rival criminal groups detonated bombs, shot at the population, forced recruitment of young men, and destroyed homes in the Lajerio and Candelaria communities. As a consequence of these events, the inhabitants fled their homes, at least 3,500 people were displaced, and a 15-year-old adolescent died from a stray bullet. By the beginning of June, a gradual return of the population to their communities has begun and the magnitude of the effects of the day of violence is beginning to be known.

At the same time, violence in the Chiapas Highlands continues to escalate and affects the lives of displaced persons in the Chenalho municipality. On June 2nd, an attack perpetrated by an armed group in Polho was reported, resulting in a total of seven deaths and three people wounded by gunshots, including a three-year-old boy who was killed and an 11-year-old girl with gunshot wounds to the chest.

In these situations of extreme violence, girls, boys, and adolescents are exposed to losing their lives and suffering irreparable damage to their health, integrity, housing, and heritage. Fear and displacement prevent their return to school, and the lack of action by institutions to prevent and address these situations puts them at risk of being used by criminal groups.

According to the record of the organization Melel Xojobal, murders of children and adolescents by firearms in Chiapas have increased from two in 2021 to four in 2023. Likewise, the records from the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights reports that there are more than 6,000 girls, boys, and adolescents displaced by violence from 2010 to date, and with these events the figure rises to more than 7,000.

The organizations of REDIAS make an urgent call to the authorities of the three levels of government, as well as to international human rights bodies to stop armed violence in the state and generate a comprehensive care strategy for children and adolescents in condition of forced displacement in different municipalities of Chiapas. This strategy must guarantee the survival and development of displaced children and adolescents, guarantee the integrity and security of the communities that have received those fleeing violence, guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid and guarantee psychosocial care for families who have been victims of gun violence.

Network for the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas (REDIAS)

Original statement at https://redias.org/publicaciones-y-prensa/f/urgente-atender-a-niñs-y-adolescentes-en-desplazamiento-forzado?fbclid=IwAR0-Cw0R7mhi0u-0qN98yEdJdfhbK1s0v_0Q74wt3GD50wBX8gTXthB5q6c

Translated by Schools for Chiapas.

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