Honduran migrants in a caravan to the US, take a break in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico
(Johan ORDONEZ )

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – More than 7,000 people have joined the migrant caravan headed toward the US border with Mexico, a UN spokesman said Monday, citing estimates of the International Organization for Migration.

“IOM reports that large numbers of people are arriving in Mexico today and are likely to remain in the country for an extended period,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said, urging that they be treated with “respect and dignity.”

“At this time, it is estimated that the caravan comprises some 7,233 persons, many of whom intend to continue the march north.”

Haq said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had spoken to several leaders about the situation over the weekend and planned to travel to Washington on Tuesday for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“This situation needs to be dealt with in line with international law and with full respect for countries’ right to manage their own borders,” Haq said.

“The states in the region need to cooperate on resolving the situation.”

Earlier Monday, US President Donald Trump said the United States would begin cutting aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador because they had failed to stop the movement of migrants.

Haq said the UN High Commission on Refugees has mobilized to help the migrants, and that the governments involved had been urged to work with the IOM and UNHCR.

The UNHCR has deployed an emergency team in southern Mexico, and now has 32 people on the ground on the border, in Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, according to the spokesman.

“Numbers will increase in the coming days to address and ensure adequate provision of information on the asylum system to members of the caravan, as well as legal advice and humanitarian assistance to those who seek asylum,” he said.

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