In addition, thousands of migrants have arrived at the Colombian port of Necoclí waiting for boats to take them to the border with Panama in order to cross the Darien jungle. The migrants are mainly from Haiti and Cuba, but also from Venezuela, Senegal, India, Pakistan, Congo, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Eritrea.
In July more than 212,000 migrants were detained at the US-Mexico border, the highest monthly figure since April 2000.
In their statement, the bishops representing the organizations warned of “the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gulf of Urabá Antioqueño, Colombia, and the Darien border region between Panama and Colombia, as a result of the arrival of a significant number of people from several countries, who intend to cross the Darien Gap.”
“The lack of knowledge about the harsh reality of the jungle, its natural environment and the presence of armed gangs controlling the area, we are being warned of a scenario of imminently increasing risks to their protection and the potential violation of the rights of this migrant population in transit through Colombia, Panama and Central America,” the prelates said.
They pointed out that in this border area the migrants “are exposed to countless risks, a situation that poses significant challenges in terms of emergency medical care and safe migratory transit."
They also recalled the call of Pope Francis to governments "to be prudent and welcome all refugees and migrants," and asked that “under a merciful gaze” migrants, refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking “be received with a welcoming attitude” since “in addition to enduring the difficulties due to their very condition, they are frequently subjected to negative judgements, since they are considered responsible for social ills.”