Mexico + 7 more

Central America and Mexico UNHCR Operational Update - 31 August 2016



32,179 New asylum applications from the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) citizens in North and Central America countries in 2016 (Jan-Jun).

99,522 Deportations of NTCA citizens from the USA and Mexico in 2016 (Jan-Jun).

565% Increase in asylum applications in Belize,
Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama from NTCA citizens in 2016 (Jan-Jun) compared to the same period in 2015.

152% Increase in asylum applications in Mexico from NTCA citizens in 2016 (Jan-Jun) compared to the same period in 2015.

2,480 Asylum seekers housed in 8 shelters supported by UNHCR in 2016 (Jan-Aug) in the States of Tabasco, Chiapas and Mexico City.


  • The high-level roundtable on the plight of people fleeing growing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras held in San José, Costa Rica, on 6-7 July concluded with the issuance of the San Jose Action Statement, a series of commitments from countries in response to the protection situation in Central America.

  • UNHCR and the Government of Honduras signed the Accord de siège on 21 June, which formally allows UNHCR to engage in its work in Honduras. UNHCR is strengthening its office in Tegucigalpa and opening a new office in San Pedro Sula.

  • UNHCR is also strengthening its operations in Guatemala and has recently opened an office in Peten. The Protection and Monitoring Network has substantially increased its capacity to identify persons with protection needs. As Chair of the UNCT´s Migration Task Force, UNHCR is also contributing to ensure that the new Migration Code incorporates international refugee law principles and standards.

  • In El Salvador, UNHCR is working with the Ombudsman’s office and partners to set up mechanisms for the identification and referral of high risk protection cases, as well as in the design and implementation of an internal displacement profiling exercise.

  • Thirty partnership agreements were signed to develop protection mechanisms and provide support to the persons of concern in the region.

  • Inter-Agency cooperation was strengthened. In Honduras, the Protection Working Group (PWG) is working in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula with the participation of 7 UN Agencies and 13 INGOs. PWGs were also established in Guatemala and El Salvador. Within the framework of UNDG-LAC, the Regional PWG was re-activated to articulate regional initiatives and support UNCTs in the NTCA.

  • The Mexican Congress approved a reform of the Constitution, guaranteeing the right to seek and obtain asylum as set out in the American Convention on Human Rights.

  • UNHCR expanded its presence in Mexico by establishing a presence in Saltillo to promote local integration, and in Acayucan to focus on the dissemination of information on access to asylum and on the improvement of reception conditions.

  • COMAR and the Mexican Migration Institute released approximately 280 asylumseekers, mostly women and children, from a number of migration detention centres.
    UNHCR liaised with civil society shelters to ensure spaces were available and that follow-up was provided, including psychological counselling and legal aid.

 New stateless status determination regulations were enacted in Costa Rica as defined in the 2010 Migration Act (Law 8764).

 In response to hurricane Earl passed through Belize on 4 August, UNHCR, through its partner, assisted affected families with humanitarian aid.