OAS and UNHCR Present Report on the Rights of Migrants and Refugees in Mexico and Central America
November 8, 2018
The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today presented the first report of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Report (MIRPS), which aims to defend the rights of migrants and refugees who live or cross the territories of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama, and announced the creation of the Joint OAS-UNHCR Coordination Unit to analyze the progress of this initiative.
The Regional Monitoring Report of MIRPS 2017-2018 consolidates the 180 commitments adopted in the MIRPS by the six participating countries, and reflects the achievements and challenges associated with the protection of refugees, asylum seekers and the displaced, in the care of host communities in each of the countries, and at the regional level.
The report highlights that the six countries that make up the MIRPS registered:
• An increase of 63 percent of asylum applications in 2018 (20,504 new applications) with respect to 2017 (12,542);
• 61,000 refugees and asylum seekers in 2018;
• 70 civil society organizations that assist migrants and refugees;
• 65 shelters providing food and board for displaced people;
• 12,000 children and adolescents that returned to their homes in northern Central America;
• 73,000 people with needs for protection provided with safe spaces (January-June 2018); and
• 14 civil society organizations that implement poverty reduction projects in the northern zone of Central America.
The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, highlighted the progress of MIRPS twelve months after its foundation. "The region must join efforts to protect the rights of migrants and refugees who - increasingly - cross the borders of their countries in search of a better future. In its first year, the MIRPS has shown that it is a useful tool, we hope that the countries of the region continue to support this initiative to respond to this challenge," said Almagro.
Meanwhile, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Turk, highlighted the need to carry out peace and security policies in response to the growing phenomenon of people forced to leave their homes in search of a better future. "The growing mixed movements of refugees and migrants, in the region and at the global level, show the prevailing need to address the causes of violence and instability to prevent displacement," Turk said. Without doing this, there is no real change in the lives of people who are forced to cross borders to seek safety," added Turk.
The announcement was made at the OAS headquarters in Washington, as part of the annual meeting of MIRPS. The six countries that make up this initiative participated in the meeting, as did the other OAS member states, and the members of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Permanent Council.