Migrants from Caravans share their voluntary return stories

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Other, Panama
20 May, 2019


  • Over 1,400 Central Americans have returned to their countries after joining migrant caravans with assistance from IOM. 


San José, Costa Rica A series of video testimonials will allow you to hear the stories of people who participated in migrant caravans and voluntarily decided, for various reasons, to return to their countries of origin. In October 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) created a special temporary program to assist the voluntary return of migrants stranded in Mexico or Guatemala who lack the necessary resources to return to their homes.   

To date, IOM has provided assistance for the voluntary return of 1,406 people, 66 of whom are unaccompanied minors. The majority of the people who have been assisted are of Honduran (75%) and Salvadoran (22%) nationality. 81% are men and 19% are women, primarily between the ages of 18 and 45 (77%). 

These videos depict the various reasons why the people decided to return home: “I was sick”...“Our savings were used up on the way”…“We have survived many dangers” ... “I would rather return to my children”…“There are a lot of risks on the road.” 31% of the people who have returned with IOM's assistance stated that their plans to return are related to family reunification, and 69% with the job search.  

Additionally, IOM and shelter staff explain in some videos how returns are conducted, the services that are provided, and the issues that are considered in advance to guarantee that the entire process occurs within the framework of international law and protects migrants.  

You can find all the testimonies on the YouTube channel of IOM Central, North America, and the Caribbean, at https://bit.ly/2WdyOmB . The most recent report on IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return can be downloaded here


The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programs are aligned with the right to return, which is a principle of international law codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For IOM, the principle of voluntariness is an essential requirement for choosing this type of program. 

For more information, please contact Tatiana Chacón Salazar, Email: tchacon@iom.int