ECLAC: Darien Gap Migrants
Among the world’s most dangerous migration routes is the Darién Gap. A 160-kilometer strip separating Panama and Colombia, the Darién Gap is the only land-based route connecting South and Central America. Attracting migrants from Latin America and beyond, the Gap has seen over 500,000 migrants pass through its jungle path, many of whom fled their country of origin due to political, economic, and social instability. While the route is relatively expeditious, crossing through the Gap is risky, as lack of the basic services, treacherous topography, and the threat of criminal activity in the region create hostility, particularly for children, who make up one-fifth of the migrants. Despite the Gap’s perilous humanitarian impact, criminal organizations are simultaneously generating millions of dollars through human trafficking and strengthening the cartel’s presence in Latin American governments. How can the horrific conditions of the Darién Gap be addressed? What are the most effective ways to maneuver strict immigration laws while recognizing the challenges the influx of migrants present? Is it possible to address the root causes that send migrants to the route? Delegates will have to collaborate to address these questions, keeping in mind the complexities of Latin American immigration policies as migrants’ lives hang in the balance.