Belize: UNHCR Acknowledges GOB for efforts to Protect Asylum Seekers in Amnesty
BELMOPAN, Belize – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Government of Belize to include asylum seekers in the upcoming Amnesty exercise, which seeks to offer permanent residence status to migrants and asylum seekers who have been living in Belize for many years.
Asylum seekers who were initially rejected due to the previous 14-day limitation – which meant that persons had to apply for asylum in the first 14 days of arriving in Belize or else were immediately rejected- also qualify to apply for amnesty. Including asylum seekers who registered before 31 March 2020 allows for these persons who were forced to flee a secondary pathway to stability, permanent residence, and self-sufficiency.
“Allowing asylum seekers to better integrate in Belize gives them safety and an opportunity to nurture their dreams and give back to their host country,” said Roland Francois-Weil, UNHCR Head of Office. “UNHCR will continue to support the Government of Belize through its efforts to ensure access to asylum for all those who seek international protection in Belize.”
UNHCR continues to support the Government of Belize in strengthening the capacities of the Refugees Department to process asylum claims and to ensure a swift and fair asylum procedure exists in the country.
Belize is home to over 4,000 asylum seekers and refugees who have come to Belize seeking safety and protection, mostly from nearby El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Many of them have been seeking international protection in Belize for over 10 years.
In addition, UNHCR is now working in close cooperation with the Refugee and Immigration Departments to provide timely information on the Amnesty to asylum seekers regarding the criteria and procedure to be followed through the dissemination of pamphlets in English and Spanish, and the airing of radio ads.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- Aida Escobar - Senior Public Information Assistant, at 672-2399 or [email protected]