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Human mobility is a constant and natural phenomenon that has been present since long before the birth of civilization. Millions of people move daily from one place to another, leading to major changes in the economies and cultures of their countries of origin, transit and destination.

Economic crisis, political instability and a fragile sense of public security are just some of the factors that influence people’s decision to migrate. With a change of country, place or region, migrants expect an improvement of their economic, social and familiar prospects, as well as their quality of life.

The number of Latin American migrants in the world is equivalent to the population of countries such as Peru or Venezuela (around 30 million). The lack of a system enabling them to access their human and civil rights— even though they may not have an education or any

documentation —not only makes them endure the same harsh conditions of other vulnerable people with whom they share age, race, income, social class or gender, but also systematically exposes them to extortion, beatings, abductions, rape, trafficking and homicide.

The speed with which the migrant community is growing is coupled with the interest of several governments to update their regulatory frameworks as well as with mobilizations generated by the global forums held in Latin America in 2010. The existence of government and societal platforms aimed at building international public policy and expanding successful Latin American models at the global level, contribute to the promotion of procedures for the governance of international migration from a Latin American perspective. This would facilitate mobility, generate positive influences and protect the human rights of all migrants.

Avina identifies opportunity

To ensure migrations are a source of prosperity and integration for Latin America.

To link the collaborative work between different sectors of society at the local and global levels, and channel efforts towards a regulatory, institutional and ethical framework of dignified, formal, democratic and sustainable human mobility.


Avina and its allies’ strategy for action

To promote public policy improvements, protect the human rights of migrants, and generate economic alternatives to strengthen sustainable development in communities susceptible to the effects of migration.

To create beneficial and cooperative relationships among migrants, their communities, governments, businesses and society as a whole.

To achieve this objective at the regional level, Avina and its allies have built a strategy with three main fronts:

Promote favorable public policies: To support processes of social control over public policy and institutions in order to continuously improve political and strategic frameworks for migrants.

Because we are all migrants

Respect the rights of migrants:To create and support innovative, high-impact models aimed at the protection of human rights of vulnerable migrants in order to increase their levels of autonomy and responsibility.

Develop economic initiatives in migrant communities: To implement inclusive economic development initiatives at the local level in order to strengthen employment and collaboration while fostering partnerships among government, business and social sectors, and local and migrant communities abroad.


In 2011, Avina, Open Society Foundation and Ford Foundation established CAMMINA, an alliance focused on Mexico and Central America to bring sustainable changes in public policies aimed at promoting migrants’ rights and contributing to the economic sustainability of origin communities, so that migration may be considered an option and not a necessity.

Additionally, Avina is maintaining ties with social organizations, governments, aid agencies, international organizations and communities that work for and with migrant populations, mainly in Mexico and Central America. Avina is currently in a phase of exploration and development of alliances with organizations in Latin America and other regions of the world.


How can we increase the participation of migrant populations that cannot access or exercise their civil rights? Irregular migrants represent one of the most vulnerable populations —one whose members include children, indigenous peoples, the elderly, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented communities.

How can we make the debate more objective and timely? There are polarized and contradictory positions held by institutions and people involved in migratory dynamics.

How can we impact simultaneously the different causes of migration in a systemic and focused way? The complexity and interconnectivity

of economic, civic, migratory and security policies hinders a systemic impact as well as a strategic or territorial approach.

How can the contribution of migration to sustainable development in our countries be demonstrated? Even though the relevance of migrants’ economic and social contributions in the communities of origin and destination, multiculturalism and respect for social diversity, intergenerational affective and economic ties, and the role and power of advocacy of the second and third generation of migrants has been proven, it is difficult to demonstrate the specific value of migration in the development of Latin American countries.

Some achievements with our allies


For the first time, organized civil society participated officially in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

GGFMD is an intergovernmental body that meets annually to address international public policy on migration. The Institute of Studies and Outreach on Migration (INEDIM), an ally of Avina, participated as a member of the International Executive Committee of the Global Action of People on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA), an example of organized civil society that years ago sought to influence the activities of the GFMD. For the first time, the GFMD formally recognized members of PGA as legitimate and independent participants in the framework of the activities of the GFMD in November 2010, in Mexico.

Oxfam Mexico and Avina Strengthen Bi-national Federations for Economic Development

The bi-national federations of Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Fedzac and FIOB are organizations representing Mexican migrants in the United States engaging with their communities of origin. With the support of Oxfam Mexico they have become internationally known for innovative partnerships with government and business sectors to channel funds towards development initiatives. Inspired by their achievements, Oxfam Mexico and Avina identified bi-national organizations in Guanajuato and Tlaxcala that will enrich their members’ experiences with new initiatives in local economic development and improve access to economic justice.

Datos Claves

  1. Thirty million Latin Americans are migrants, representing 13% of the world’s total migrant population.

  2. The number of migrants from Latin America increased 20% between 2000 and 2005, and continues to grow.

  3. In Latin America the highest percentages of people living outside their country of origin correspond to El Salvador (14.5%), Mexico (9.4%), Nicaragua (9.6%) and Uruguay (8.3%).

  4. The majority of migrants are people under 30 years old, specifically between the ages of 20 and 29.

  5. Five million people are forcibly displaced by drug traffickers and other illegal armed groups.

  6. Climate change is accelerating migration in Mexico, Central America, Northeastern Brazil, the Andes and the regions of Patagonia and Cuyo.

  7. Latin America is the largest recipient of remittances in the world, both in volume and per-capita terms, with figures similar to the Direct Foreign Investment and much higher than the Official Development Assistance. In countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras remittances account for 14%, 11% and 10% of GDP, respectively.