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UNHCR North of Central America Situation Fact Sheet July 2020

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Around 470,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from the North of Central America in the world and 318,590 internally displaced people in Honduras and El Salvador.

The number of daily COVID-19 infections and mortality rates increased considerably, prompting countries in the region to extend lockdowns, and delay economic recovery plans.

Due to a strong increase in cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) registered during the quarantine period, UNHCR and partners reinforced coordination and protection interventions to assist persons of concern.

CONTEXT

In NCA, displaced people and community leaders report criminal groups are using confinement to strengthen their control over neighbourhoods, intensifying extortion, drug trafficking, and sexual and gender-based violence.

In Honduras, 1,225 homicides have been registered from March to end of July 2020, only 175 deaths short of those caused by COVID19 according to data from the National Secretary of Security. The rates of domestic violence, femicide, and sexual and gender-based violence are increasing during lockdown in the region, notably in El Salvador, where 1,158 women were assisted by ISDEMU, the majority between the ages of 26 and 59. In Guatemala, five municipalities are under siege to counter the violence of criminal groups – notably drug trafficking, harassment and people smuggling –, including in areas of UNHCR presence. The violent murder of a transgender asylum seeker in Guatemala highlights the urgent need for states to guarantee effective protection of all LGBTI people in the region.
Of 90 shelters in Mexico, 37 are receiving new persons. Despite this, the decreasing trend of people hosted in shelters persists. Shelter staff report a more visible number of persons in the streets or economically impacted who arrive asking for food or specific assistance.

UNHCR continues to work with local authorities to mobilize responses that guarantee the effective protection of internally displaced people, deportees with protection needs, refugees and asylum seekers from the NCA.