Two African children from Guinea were abandoned at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport. The first case, that of a 9-year-old, set off alarm bells for the authorities and Migration Colombia on December 18 officials assisted the minor, who had been hiding at the airport for 10 days.
Photo: Migracion Colombia
A few hours later, another 13-year-old boy from Guinea was found.
“When interviewed to verify his migratory situation, he indicated that he had arrived on December 7 in the company of two adults and that he had a connecting ticket to continue to El Salvador,” said Migration in a public statement. “It is important to specify that, according to the information available, this minor has no link with a similar case that occurred a few days ago with a girl of the same nationality and that both situations are cases that had not been registered until now.”
According to what has been ascertained, a number of African migrants were at the El Dorado airport waiting for an immigration solution. The authorities confirmed that the parents of both minors made a stopover in Bogota and continued on to El Salvador.
Both children arrived from Turkey and were found in malnourished conditions.
For now, the African children are in the custody of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF). “We are looking for diplomatic channels to restore their rights, we are looking for their families,” said Adriana Velázquez, ICBF deputy director, in public comments.
The reason for this massive arrival of Africans, according to experts, has to do with a modification in the country’s immigration legislation, which has facilitated the transit of these people through Bogota. Specifically, the modification of Article 8 of Resolution 5488 of July 22, 2022, which was updated in May 2023 with Resolution 3717, reduced the number of nationalities requiring airport transit visas to 42 countries.
“As a result of a visit requested by Colombian Migration to the international lounges of El Dorado Airport and carried out in coordination with the Airport concessionaire, Opaín, the Childhood and Adolescence Police, ICBF and the airlines Turkish Airlines and Avianca, it was agreed to create a new protocol to protect the rights of migrant minors in transit through our country,” said the agency in a s statement.
“The new protocol will include interviews to determine whether minors are accompanied and will be applied with emphasis on family cases, in order to establish a more rigorous verification process and ensure the protection of children and adolescents,” said the deputy director of migration control of Migration Colombia, Martha Hernandez.
Among the nationalities that do not require a visa are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Haiti, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, and Sudan.