The main objective of the summit was to gather and listen to several migrant leaders and organized communities in Guatemala and the United States to share concerns and hopes, as well as to define strategies for collaboration.
Guatemala City, Guatemala, October 24, 2017 – Representatives of Casa del Migrante Scalabrini of Guatemala and the Regional Director of the International Scalabrini Migration Network (SIMN) in Central America and Mexico attended the first Migrant and Returnees Summit held on October 20 and 21, 2017, in the Department of Quezaltenango, Guatemala. The event was attended by activists, entrepreneurs and more than 15 migrant speakers, returnees and migrant rights advocates, leaders from different religious denominations, including Monsignor Álvaro Ramazzini, Bishop of Huehuetenango and President of the Human Mobility Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala.
The summit’s motto was “Here and there we are community”. Among the activities of the summit, there were forums, conferences, talks on migration issues, cultural activities and testimonies. Finding alternatives for integral human development and socio-labor insertion for migrants and their families and communities in Guatemala was one of the priorities of this event.
In the event, it was possible to share the experience of migrating as a starting point towards an economic transformation. Testimonies were also heard from various migrants, returnees and relevant voices on the subject, and minimum agreements were sought to be able to influence public policies on migration from a joint articulation between countries of origin and destination.
“In the current global context, this summit has strengthened our commitment to building societies that are more inclusive and respectful of the dignity and rights of all people, including migrants, refugees and deportees. We will continue to strengthen our commitment and our inter-institutional coordination to define and implement policies, laws and programs that recognize and promote the integral human development of our societies, including migrants”, said Fr. Mario Verzeletti, Regional Director of SIMN in Central America and Mexico.
About SIMN – SIMN is supporting more than 250 Scalabrinian centers, shelters and programs that are providing lodging, food, training and employment programs; psychological and religious services; protection to victims of human trafficking and support in the integration process to migrants, refugees and seafarers in five continents. In 2016, for example, Scalabrinian Centers has supported 120,738 migrants and refugees and 172,790 seafarers around the world. SIMN is also supporting a network of schools providing education, school supplies, and food, (possibly their only meal of the day) to thousands of needy children. In addition, SIMN is an accredited Non-Governmental Organization at the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS) and from this perspective is providing research and support for regional and global policies to protect and promote the dignity and the rights of migrants and their families.