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  • Children from Honduras, traveling with relatives to the U.S., have their meals at the Todo por ellos (All for them) immigrant shelter in Tapachula, Mexico.

    Children from Honduras, traveling with relatives to the U.S., have their meals at the Todo por ellos (All for them) immigrant shelter in Tapachula, Mexico. | Photo: Reuters

Mexico, backed by the U.S. government, has apprehended and deported the lion's share of Honduran children.

Some 2,268 unauthorized migrant children of Honduran origin have been deported to their country by U.S., Mexican and Central American authorities between January and July 7, according to official sources in Honduras.

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According to data from Honduras' consular and immigration observers, the U.S. government has deported 117 children, while Mexico has returned 237 by air and 1,892 by land.

The report detailed that 17 children were repatriated from Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

Child refugees from Honduras and other Central American nations are often targeted by gangs and, in the case of girls, face the danger of rape and sexual assault. Almost a third of women reported sexual abuse.

Immigration authorities in Mexico — with staunch assistance from Washington — often apprehend U.S.-bound migrants and return them to their countries of origin, sealing their fate while breaching international legal obligations to protect refugees and children whose lives are threatened.

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According to official figures, throughout 2016 the U.S. deported 235 Honduran minors, while 8,968 were returned from Mexico and 34 were expelled from neighboring Central American countries.

The Honduran authorities estimate that in the United States there are about 1 million Hondurans, including legalized and undocumented residents, who have escaped dire situations of violence and instability affecting the Central American country.

Honduras was plunged into a brutal cycle of violence following the 2009 Washington-backed coup against its democratically-elected popular leader, President Manuel Zelaya.

Indigenous people, social movement organizers and human rights advocates were targeted for killings in the thousands while U.S.-sponsored drug wars in neighboring countries caused cartels to relocate to the country, resulting in sharp spikes of violence as Honduras began to earn the shameful title,“murder capital of the world.”

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