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Human Rights Advocates Voice Concerns About Central America Conference

Holly Pretsky
Representatives of several civil society organizations and Latin America experts had a panel discussion at the FIU law school.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence are all expected to visit Miami this week for the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America.


But some civil society organizations say they’re concerned human rights aren’t a big enough part of the discussion. More than 100 organizations have signed an open letter to Tillerson asking him to consider human rights.


Read more: Honduran President: Miami Event Will Help Trump See Central America Needs


“We urged him to make sure that what U.S. policy towards the region looks like is one that’s based in human rights, that civil society in the region is consulted for the future,” says Daniella Burgi-Palomino, senior associate at the Latin America Working Group in Washington, D.C.  


Representatives from several civil society organizations and Latin America experts held their own panel discussion Wednesday at the law school at Florida International University.


These activists are asking Tillerson not to enter into agreements that could compromise the safety of migrants, and to address the root causes of migration – namely, violence.


Kelly and Tillerson will lead the conference in partnership with the government of Mexico. The conference, which includes business leaders and government officials, will focus on what’s known as the “Northern Triangle” of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.


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