Is Honduras safe for refugees and asylum seekers?

Both the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United States State Department have called Honduras’ asylum system “nascent,” with UNHCR expressing “severe reservations” about the agreement. This deal, as well as similar ones with El Salvador and Guatemala, aims to prevent migrants from seeking asylum in the United States, instead sending them to some of the world’s most dangerous countries, from where people are fleeing in search of safety. These agreements are in violation of US immigration and refugee legislation, as well as US treaty obligations. Transfers to Guatemala began in November 2019, after an interim final regulation implementing the asylum-seeker transfer agreements was released that month.

Is Honduras safe for refugees and asylum seekers?

Because their government fails to protect them, many Hondurans are fleeing violence and seeking asylum in neighbouring countries. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, 24,000 Hondurans fled their nation in 2018 to seek refuge in the United States. More than 76,000 Honduran asylum applications are presently awaiting decisions around the world. According to the US State Department, there were an estimated 191,000 people displaced within Honduras as a result of violence, national and international gang activity, and human trafficking.

  • Migrants, especially refugees, are subject to attacks by criminal groups, according to the US State Department, which the Honduran government is unable or unwilling to police, owing to endemic corruption and links between government officials and criminal entities.
  • The former head of the Honduran National Police was indicted by the US Department of Justice in late April 2020, accusing him of misusing his law enforcement position as part of a conspiracy involving high-ranking Honduran officials, including the current president. “Impunity for crime and human rights abuses is the norm” in Honduras, according to Human Rights Watch.
  • In Honduras, asylum seekers face danger not just because of their inherent vulnerabilities as refugees, but also because of their color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  • Honduran women, children, and LGBT people, in particular, endure high levels of violence, with many compelled to escape the country in search of safety. Threats and violence are also directed at indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant populations in Honduras.