Latin America & the Caribbean: Weekly Situation Update (18-25 November 2019) As of 25 November 2019
$10.3M FUNDING SUPPORT FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR IOM VOLUNTARY RETURN PROGRAM
70% OF MIGRANTS APPREHENDED AT US-MEXICO BORDER ARE FROM EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS
Sources: IOM, UNHCR
MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
IOM VOLUNTARY RETURN PROGRAM
IOM announced on 22 November that they have launched a new humanitarian assistance and assisted voluntary return (AVR) program in Guatemala to aid migrants who wish to return to their country of origin, but lack the means to do so.
IOM says they are working closely with UNHCR and implementing partners for referrals and counter-referrals of asylum seeker cases and people with international protection needs. Asides from the AVR program, which IOM says will be conducted in accordance with international human rights standards, the program will provide accommodation, food and medical care.
The program will be implemented in both Guatemala and Belize with US$10.3 million in backing from the United States.
US-GUATEMALA ASYLUM AGREEMENT
UNHCR issued a statement on 19 November expressing their concerns about the recently implemented over the US-Guatemala asylum arrangement.
UNHCR says that the approach is at odds with established international law and risks placing vulnerable people in life-threatening situations.
UNHCR also states that they have not been party to any of the US’ recent agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (the countries of origin for more than 70 per cent of migrants apprehended at the USMexico border in 2019), but that they are in dialogue with all governments involved to continue lobbying for their concerns and gain more information on implementation.