Documents/Resources

 

Central America

        Central America: Anti-Trafficking Initiatives Provided by IOM.

         Central Americans Flee Home Countries: Recent Notes on Migration to Mexico, U.S., Canada Extracts
from selected media accounts of Central American migration.  These reports touch on numbers of migrants
and would-be migrants; Mexican, US and Canadian migration policies; and, debate surrounding the
"effectiveness" of Washington's Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, known as Simpson-Rodino.
The bill granted legal status to foreigners who could prove they had arrived in the US before 1982 and
have lived in the country continuously since that time. Subsequent to the bill's approval, Border Patrol,
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and other agency personnel have been increased in an effort
to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.

        Displacement, Return and the Peace Process This paper is provided by WRITENET (network of researchers
on human rights, forced migration and ethnic and political conflict based in the UK).  The authors explain that
Guatemala has suffered 33 years of civil war. While the shorter wars of the other Central American countries,
El Salvador and Nicaragua, received huge international attention during the 1980s, the world's media has
remained relatively silent about Latin America's longest running armed conflict. Inevitably, the war in Guatemala
has left a humanitarian crisis in its wake. Since 1980 alone, it is estimated that over 100,000 Guatemalans have
died, 40,000 have been the victims of disappearance, at least 100,000 have become refugees in Mexico and a
further million have at some time been forced into internal displacement. While Guatemala is the largest of the
Central American republics, these figures represent a significant proportion of a population of only 9.7 million. 

 
        Honduran Mennonites Acted When It Was Dangerous To Act In the 1980s these Christians risked their lives
and reputations to help Salvadoran war victims who had fled to their country in search of refuge. Now, some
15-plus years later, they assisted the last 42 refugees -- living where the Mesa Grande refugee camp once stood
-- on their return to El Salvador.

        Region: Humanizing Treatment of Undocumented Immigrants Is Goal of Ten-Nation Conference Delegates at
the IV Regional Migration Conference in San Salvador in late January focused on the immigration problems posed
by Hurricane Mitch.  They agreed to press their governments to hasten post-Mitch cleanup and reconstruction and
to generate regional employment.  Critics of regional migration policies say, however, the delegates did not go far
enough.  
        Regional Migration Process: The North and Central American Experience By Joseph Bracken, senior Refugee
Program Officer for Asia Bureau of Population,  refugees, and Migration Remarks at the International Symposium
on Migration U.S. Presentation -- Panel on Regional Initiatives Bangkok, Thailand, April 21, 1999.    

        Salvadoran Transnationalism: Towards the Redefinition of The National Community By Patricia Landolt,
Department of Sociology, The Johns Hopkins University. Transnationalism is a dialectical process. Grassroots
transnationalism--the struggle for economic, social, and political reinsertion by displaced populations--elicits an
elite transnational response. The transnational migrant social field is consequently a contested terrain in which new
relations of domination and exploitation emerge out of established power structures and hegemonic strategies.
Ultimately, the transnational engagement of grassroots and elites envelops the national community and leads to the
redefinition of the boundaries of the nation-state.  This paper tests this dialectical proposition on the case of El
Salvador.  It examines the grassroots transnational economic and political activities of Salvadoran transmigrants, the
multiple impacts they have on their place of origin, and the responses they elicit on the part of the Salvadoran state
and bourgeoisie. 

        Trafficking in Migrants as it Affects Panama This study was prepared by the Government of Panama with the
cooperation of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the financial support of the Government of
Canada. The study is available in English and Spanish. 

        United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
provides protection and assistance to the world's refugees.  Refugees are people who have fled their countries because
of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in
a particular social group, and who cannot or do not want to return. 

o        CIREFCA: Resolving Central America's Refugee Problem Esquipulas II was the spark that ignited the
CIREFCA process. In May 1989, the five Central American governments joined Mexico and Belize in
convening CIREFCA, the International Conference on Central American Refugees, which was co-sponsored
by the UN Secretary-General, UNHCR and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). From the beginning,
therefore, CIREFCA adopted an integrated approach to the political, humanitarian and developmental
dimensions of the refugee problem. 

o       Funding & Donor Relations: Guatemala. Donations to UNHCR, 1990-1998 

o       Guatemala: Going Back to the Land Issues relating to the use and ownership of land form an important but
neglected element of the refugee problem in many parts of the world. As the case of Guatemala demonstrates,
conflicts over the distribution of land and the wealth which it produces may contribute to the violence which
forces people to abandon their homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere. And without a resolution of such conflicts,
it may prove difficult for the refugees concerned to go back and reintegrate in their homeland. 

o       Publications on Central America Documents and links provided by UNHCR. 

o       1999 Programme (Global Appeal, Central America Regional Overview). Given the much-reduced level of its
operations in Belize and the Central American countries, UNHCR negotiates or consolidates agreements with
existing national welfare institutions to ensure access to a range of social services. 

o       Refugees and Others of Concern to UNHCR: 1998 Statistical Overview The figures presented here are mostly
provided by Governments and based on their own records and methods of estimation. In some cases, the
statistics are derived from UNHCR-supported census operations. For industrialized countries without accurate
refugee population data, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population based on recent refugee arrivals and
recognition as well as estimates for temporary protection. The statistics presented here do not cover Palestinian
refugees who come under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
in the Near East (UNRWA).  

         Belize
         El Salvado
         Guatemala
         Honduras
         Nicaragua
         Panama

 

General

 

         Transnational Communities: Their Emergence and Significance in the Contemporary World System By Alejandro
Portes Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University.  Keynote address delivered at the 19th annual conference
on the Political Economy of the World-System:  Latin America in the world-economy, North-South Center at the
University of Miami, April 21,1995.  Portes attempts to give theoretical form to the concept of transnational
communities, as a less noticed but potentially potent counter to the more visible forms of globalization described in the
recent literature. The concept may actually perform double duty as part of the theoretical arsenal with which we
approach the modern world-system but also as an element of a more neglected enterprise, namely the analysis of the
everyday networks and patterns of social relationships that develop in and around that system.  The latter goal belongs
in the realm of a mid-range theory of social interaction which the author will seek to outline after considering two past
initiatives in the same general direction.  

        Transnationalism and Globalism In sweeping strokes, we can understand "globalism" as an alternate term for
"postcolonialism" itself. The two terms share the idea of cosmopolitan centers in changing relations with rural areas
and the emerging metropolises of the Third World. For the purposes at least of this page, however, we will use
"Globalism" to refer to economic relations and shifts in modes of production that occur between financial centers
like New York, Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles and emerging nations around the world. Usually narrated as in
positive processes like "investement," "progress" and "development," activists and scholars around the world have
begun to discuss globalism with ambivalence as they unpack profound assymmetries between center and periphery. 

        United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Documents 

o       Assessment of 1998 Operations  (Global Report, The Americas regional overview)