1. Description of refugee situation
Where does the population of concern live?
Mostly in urban and rural settings.
Figures as of June 2020
Asylum Seekers - Urban/Rural - 5,800
(Source: Data provided by Government and partners to UNHCR)
Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Belize on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus.
2. Belize's response to the refugee situation
An overview of how the Government has structured its ability to respond to the refugee situation, with the support of partners.
In October 2017, the Government of Belize joined the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (or MIRPS as it is called by its Spanish acronym), joining efforts to apply comprehensive responses in the Central American region.
This regional initiative brings together Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, and Mexico to collaborate - with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) and UNHCR - in the design and roll out of a joint response to forced displacement in the region.
At the national level, Belize’s national action plan for the MIRPS is guided and overseen by the National Technical Team, comprised of the Government the OAS, UNHCR and is coordinated by the Refugees Department, which also functions as Government’s MIRPS focal point.
An inter-departmental technical working group is currently active to enhance the planning, the costing and financing and the implementation of the plan’s activities. The working group provides technical inputs and recommendations to ensure that the MIRPS national plan is aligned with realities on the ground and the various national development efforts underway.
- Line Ministries: Ministry of Immigration; Ministry of Human Development; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Development
- Others: Organization of American States; Statistical Institute of Belize; National Institute for Culture and History
- UN Agencies: PAHO/ WHO, UNICEF, IOM, UNFPA, UNDP
- National NGOs: Help for Progress, Belize Red Cross, Humana People to People, the Human Rights Commission of Belize, Belize Network of NGOs
Which partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees?
Information coming out of two national consultations, bringing together public offices, civil society and the private sector has helped to shape and document Belize’s refugee response into the National Action Plan for Protection and Solutions.
These ‘whole of society’ discussions strengthened partnership, which are now operational at multiple levels: in the public sector, levels of dialogue and consultation between ministries and departments have increased, focusing on the legal and policy protection aspects of reception and admission aspects of refugees in Belize, while awareness about the presence of a refugee population and the need for a comprehensive approach to it has spread among sectors of government and social line ministries.
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact
In seeking to enhance refugee self-reliance, Belize enables refugees who have completed basic levels of language training to benefit from basic levels of skills and micro-enterprise entrepreneurship training. This supports their skills and knowledge to start a micro-enterprise.
Persons who have graduated in formal or semi-formal language training are given an opportunity to enroll in a higher academic institution or technical/vocational training, helping to include them in the labor force, either as employed or self-employed.
Growing partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society partners are expected to provide new ways to increase the range of opportunities to enhance refugee self-reliance in sectors of labour and the economy.