Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration

Belize’s Continues To Align With The Objectives Of MIRPS And GCM Via Technical Capacity Building

The Refugee Department, in strengthening its technical capacity in the fields of Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and in Country-of-Origin Information (COI) Systems, capitalized on the opportunities presented by the collaboration and spirit of cooperation with international agencies, and bilateral support.

RSD is the legal and administrative process by which governments or UNHCR determines whether a person seeking international protection qualifies to be declared a refugee under international, regional or national law.

COI is a tool used for assessing claims for refugee status or other forms of international protection. COI supports interview preparation, helps a decision maker establish the facts of a Refugee claim and informs the assessment of the applicant’s fear of persecution.

UNHCR Belize provided technical assistance and hosted a refresher training course for members of the Refugee Eligibility Committee on 28th and 29th of July, 2023. The session revisited the methods utilized to enable a person to move from asylum seeker status to becoming a recognized refugee. The session included those who are involved in all aspects of the Refugee Status Determination process, ie the staff of the Refugee Department and the members of the Refugee Eligibility Committee.

On 25th August, 2023, a bilateral COI training session was held in collaboration with the Mexican government’s refugee agency, Comision Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados (COMAR Mexico). This interactive exercise concentrated on providing current information on the social, political, and economic situation in Haiti. The exercise was held virtually and with the invaluable assistance of COMAR, staff of the Refugee Department as well as the members of the Refugee Eligibility Committee, greatly benefited and expanded their understanding of life in Haiti.

As a follow up to the previous COI training on Haiti, UNHCR Belize also greatly assisted the Refugee Department by hosting another capacity building session combining both COI and RSD for Haiti. This session was held on October 20th, 2023, and once again, was targeted to the staff of the Refugee Department as well as members of the Refugee Eligibility Committee.

The Refugee Department sought technical assistance for the provision of Country-of-Origin information training, to be used in the adjudication of cases of Nicaraguan asylum seekers. UNHCR Belize generously provided the necessary assistance, in the form of a COI Nicaragua training course, held on November 10th, 2023.

Via these initiatives Belize continues to align with MIRPS objectives to: 1 – improve mechanisms for reception and admission; 2 – respond to humanitarian protection needs; and 3 – enhance opportunities for durable solutions. Additionally, they correspond with our collective commitment to improving cooperation on international migration as laid out in the Global Compact on Migration’s. The Refugee Department is grateful to its international partners for the technical assistance and will certainly utilize this wealth of knowledge in its various processes.