UNICEF on Saturday reported that some 700 children are among the estimated 2,000 people stranded in the Mexican border city of Matamoros seeking asylum in the United States, amid insecurity and other difficulties.
The agency is expanding services to children and families there, some of whom have been waiting for weeks or even months.
At the same time, UNICEF is calling for swift implementation of the Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children.
Developed by the Government, it establishes necessary interventions institutions should provide to guarantee the rights of migrant children who enter Mexican territory.
“It is important that the Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children is implemented by the Government of Mexico as soon as possible,” said Pressia Arifin-Cabo, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Mexico.
“We are currently monitoring the situation of migrant children and adolescents in Matamoros and we need to ensure that they are protected from their place of origin, during transit and towards their final destination. We need to act now because children cannot wait.”
UNICEF is supporting families through several such as creating child-friendly spaces, providing psychosocial support, and coordinating water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Staff also are working to protect migrant children and keep families together.