11 Aug 2014 WACC says migrant children need to be heard
Migrant child worker in the field in North Carolina. UN Photo/Shelley Rotner
As the U.S. debates the status of undocumented/unaccompanied migrant children at its southern border, the World Association for Christian Communication is stressing that their right to freedom of expression be honoured.
The children are migrating mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico and WACC has stated that the situation is of great concern to it and to its members and worldwide partners.
WACC particularly expresses its solidarity with the children and their families who, for whatever reasons, are subject to duress, stress, and isolation from family members and other forms of social and psychological support.
WACC’s North America and Latin America regions have posted calls to action and statements of support:
Click HERE for the statement in English on WACC North America’s page.
Click HERE for the statement in Spanish on WACC Latin America’s page.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989), children have the right to receive, generate, and share information, as long as that information does not damage them or others. Children also have the right to have their perspectives, ideas, and opinions heard, respected, and taken into account. WACC is gravely concerned that these rights may not be being recognized in the current crisis, in which the media focus often is political rather than humanitarian.
Media coverage has tended to focus on the pronouncements of government officials and speculation around the likely outcomes of government negotiations to deport the children or to secure national borders. In the U.S., media coverage often highlights differing partisan perspectives rather than addressing the complexities that have brought unaccompanied children to the border.
WACC calls on its members and partners, especially those working in and for media outlets, to highlight the children’s right to communicate and to name it in the coverage of their current plight in the USA. As advocates for communication rights, WACC encourages the media to restore the voices of the children directly affected and to let their views and opinions be heard in public. In doing so, WACC affirms the universal right to freedom of expression and to the right to communicate. In this way, a more nuanced and helpful understanding of the plight of these children can emerge.
World Vision has started a petition calling on Latin American governments to ensure children’s safety and protection, and the U.S. and other international governments to support them in this goal. To sign the petition, click HERE.