MIRPS in Belize
Belize is a country of destination, predominantly for forcefully displaced persons seeking refuge from widespread violence and rights violations, principally perpetrated by organized criminal groups in the north of Central America. The impact of the pandemic has caused a considerable contraction in economic activity, negatively impacting the tourism and agriculture sectors and increasing the vulnerability of various population groups including asylum seekers and refugees. To address the situation, Belize -which is a founding member of the MIRPS in 2017- has made progress in the implementation of its commitments to provide protection and solutions for the forcibly displaced. However, the international community’s support in the areas of protection, education, and livelihoods is needed to respond to the needs of the thousands of people seeking refuge in the country.
Jobs and Livelihoods
Increased overall recognition rate of refugees
An increase in the percentage of newly registered asylum-seekers, who have received comprehensive information about the asylum system in Belize, providing them with improved access to available protection. Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2020, the Government no longer applies the previously-established 14-day registration time limitation. In May 2021, Belize committed to a comprehensive update of its national action plan; that now envisages a new commitment to ensure the right to work through a national consultation.
Improved standard operating procedures (SOP) or identification and referral of applicants for refugee status in Belize
Establishes a solid reference for government entities and relevant actors to take action. Members of the Refugee Eligibility Committee and staff of the Refugees Department have received technical training and SOPs are now applied at the western border, where the majority of asylum-seekers arrive.
Provision of language education and vocational training services
In addition to partnerships with higher education institutions since 2018 for English-as-Second language education benefiting over 300 students, Belize has focused since late 2019 on expanding technical vocational education services to young refugee and asylum seeker students, together with youth from the host community.
Inclusion of displaced populations in COVID-19 Vaccination Program
The Ministry of Health and Wellness, and UN Agencies exchanged relevant demographic information and provided direct operational support for comprehensive coverage of refugee-hosting communities.
Support comprehensive knowledge-, skills- and livelihood-based integration opportunities
E.g. expanding demand-driven technical and vocational training options in key economic sectors associated with climate change, benefiting refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and Belizean youth
Collaboration with international community
This specifically in relation to improved opportunities for refugee integration
Optimize departmental coordination
Ensuring that asylum-seekers access all social services to which they are entitled and promoting peaceful and inclusive communities