Building on existing regional cooperation and responsibility-sharing, including the Brazil Plan of Action and the San Jose Action Statement, 6 States – Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama – adopted the San Pedro Sula Declaration on October 26, 2017, agreeing to work together in the ongoing development and implementation of a Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS in its Spanish acronym).
The MIRPS is a pioneering initiative in the application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (Annex 1 of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants) and a concrete contribution to the Global Compact on Refugees.
The MIRPS is a State-led initiative, supported by UNHCR together with the wider UN system, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and a range of different cooperating States and actors.  The MIRPS is the result of an extensive consultation process that translated national priorities and commitments into comprehensive and detailed national plans. The MIRPS constitutes a regional cooperation framework between countries of origin, transit, and destination, that promotes shared responsibility mechanisms, strengthens protection, and enhances solutions for refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and returnees with protection needs. This regional process is also a clear expression of collaboration between governments, civil society, private sector, academia, regional and international organizations and development banks. The MIRPS serves as a practical tool to mobilize the support of the international community.
As agreed during the first annual follow-up meeting, the first online meeting among MIRPS countries took place at the end of January 2019. During the meeting, the presidency term was discussed to select the first country assuming the role for the year to allow MIRPS countries to develop programmes that foster regional cooperation and generate support for the implementation of regional plans. Mexico was then elected as the first MIRPS president for 2019.
Under the leadership of Mexico’s Pro Tempore Presidency, a 2019 plan of action was laid out and adopted by all MIRPS countries prioritizing the identification of best practices on reducing the backlog in case reviews, enhancing the participation of all sectors to promote local integration, and to strengthen the collaboration with development actors. Similarly, MIRPS countries agreed upon updating and quantifying their national MIRPS plans, ahead of the Global Refugee Forum and the Solidarity Conference to be held in December 2019.
The National Action Plans identify specific programmes and prioritized actions, as well as the corresponding resources needed to strengthen the national and international protection systems and promote comprehensive and sustainable solutions. The MIRPS also puts forward action plans by 15 regional and international organizations, including both SICA and the OAS, which complement the national chapters by proposing cross-border, coordinated programmes and initiatives. Further, the MIRPS includes ten cooperating States that have committed to actively support the MIRPS, identifying specific areas they will support through financial assistance and technical cooperation. In line with the spirit of the Brazil Plan of Action, four States from South America participate in this shared responsibility mechanism, as an example of South-South cooperation.
The United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), together with the Resident Coordinators of countries in the region, is developing a comprehensive approach aimed at significantly reducing levels of violence by 2030. The United Nations Joint Initiative is focused on prevention, protection, law enforcement and access to justice. Work is also underway to develop a violence reduction index, a strategic approach to support countries in addressing chronic violence, and a roadmap to encourage and increase flexible funding.
The MIRPS has been developed through government-led consultations with all stakeholders, including persons of concern, UN country teams, civil society, the private sector and academia acquiring a whole-of-society approach. Regional networks and organizations complement the national action plans and set up regional and global responsibility-sharing mechanisms to bring a regional dimension to the MIRPS.
During the 48th session of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) General Assembly, held on June 5, 2018, its General Committee adopted a Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, presented by Mexico. The Resolution establishes an annual follow-up mechanism for the implementation of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework in Central America and Mexico, the MIRPS, with technical support from the OAS General Secretariat and UNHCR.
Reporting at regional level will be complemented by a national monitoring mechanism that intends to track national commitments for the period covering 2018-2020. The OAS is also setting up a MIRPS support group comprised of MIRPS countries and cooperating States and institutions to facilitate the cooperation among actors and the negotiation of such a follow-up mechanism. The group will help convene an annual progress review meeting on the MIRPS in 2018, one year after the adoption of the San Pedro Sula Declaration.
The Central American Council of Ombudspersons also met to agree on a concrete programme of action to support the MIRPS for the period of 2018-2020, including joint border monitoring and advocacy campaigns for forcibly displaced persons.
Operational and funding needs to deliver on a comprehensive response
A quantification of national priorities and review of national budgets is underway to ensure national ownership of the CRRF and will be followed by the identification of international cooperation’s needs. As part of their involvement in the MIRPS, the UNDP and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are providing support in this regard.
UNHCR’s budget under the NCA situation totals over USD 44.5 million for 2019. Check the Global Focus website for a funding update.
The countries and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean, assembled in Brasilia on 19 and 20 February 2018 to conduct the first triennial progress review on the implementation of the Brazil Plan of Action. As part of this review, preparatory meetings took place focusing on Quality of Asylum, the Eradication of Statelessness, Comprehensive Solutions with emphasis on Local Integration, Solidarity with the NCA countries, through the MIRPS, and Solidarity with the Caribbean. The 100 points of Brasilia constitutes the regional contribution to the Global Compact on Refugees. See the 100 Points of Brasilia (20 February 2018) here.
Regional and Thematic Consultations
Solidarity with the Northern Triangle of Central America (MIRPS) (26 October, 2017), Eradication of Statelessness report (2-3 November 2017), Comprehensive Solutions with emphasis on Local Integration report (2-3 November 2017), Quality of Asylum report (13-14 November 2017) and Solidarity with the Caribbean report (4-6 December 2017)
These events took place thanks to the financial support of the European Union. Its resulting contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
 The MIRPS application benefits from contributions of cooperating States, regional and international organizations and regional networks. Regional and international organizations and regional networks which function as cooperating actors are the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Secretariat of the Central American Social Integration System (SISCA), the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), the Resident Coordinators the UN System in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the Central American Council of Human Rights Ombudsmen, the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico, the Latin American and Caribbean Ecclesiastic Network of Migration, Displacement, Asylum and Human Trafficking (CLAMOR); the Regional Network of Civil Society Organizations for Migration; the RRCOM Regional Plan of Action as contribution to the MIRPS (through UNHCR and OAS); the Risk, Emergency and Disaster Working Group for Latin American and the Caribbean (REDLAC); the Specialized Regional Group of Academics who support the MIRPS (GREAT MIRPS); and the Integrarse Network (Corporate Social Responsibility).
Contact person in UNHCR RO Panama
Diana Diaz Rodriguez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hugues Van Brabandt (email@example.com)
Contact person in UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas
Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin (DIAZSANM@unhcr.org)
This update provides an overview of key developments affecting the displacement situation in the Americas and some of UNHCR response activities in line with the 2019 strategic objectives for the region. KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO A new large group of people travelling North, with an estimated size of 800-1,200 people, was formed in Tapachula, Mexico on 22 March. Referred to as the “Caravan of Central America and the Caribbean”, the group is comprised of people from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Cuba. They are mainly female-headed households and single men and approximately 30% are children. 5 In 2019, asylum claims in Mexico increased 185% compared to 2018, according to official figures. Mexico hosted its first meeting as the Pro-Tempore President of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (MIRPS in Spanish acronyms) to formally establish the 2019 priorities work plan.
Multiple forms of violence, the strong presence of armed criminal groups, weak institutions, and widespread social and economic exclusion produce devastating effects on the access to rights. Despite the efforts to reduce violence levels made by NCA states, many relevant indicators continue to show chronic levels. Thousands of people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador keep fleeing violence and insecurity in their countries. In addition, new forms of displacement in large groups have occurred since the last quarter of 2018, creating new challenges in countries of transit and destination. Such a complex context calls for a coordinated and ongoing response among humanitarian and development actors, and a broad regional coordination scheme, as well as a close effort to monitor the situation of vulnerable populations in order to ensure an appropriate protection response.
This report was prepared by the Evaluation Service, UNHCR.
While the number of people departing from the North of Central America (NCA) significantly decreased in the first two weeks of February, new rumours of additional groups departing from El Salvador and Honduras were spread. By the middle of the month, numbers of people moving across borders remained below the normal rate of around 300 every day. Between 16 and 17 February, several groups from Honduras and El Salvador departed towards Guatemala, with over 500 people accumulated in Tecun Uman by the end of the weekend, and additional small groups continuing to arrive. At least half of the group was comprised of families with children, and adolescents without families, from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, and a few extra-continentals. By the end of February, over 13,200 people had crossed into Mexico, with no additional people in Tecun Uman. Trends as of February 2019 indicate people are no longer moving in large numbers, with smaller groups of between 30 and 50 people being the preferred modality to enter Mexico. This has made it difficult to assess the magnitude of the movement and the needs until the smaller groups accumulate at the Guatemala-Mexico border, or cross irregularly into Mexico. This is creating significant operational challenges, as it becomes difficult to predict shelter, food, water and sanitation needs, while xenophobic attitudes continue to rise. While some groups decided to stay within Mexico, and have been relocated to other cities across the country, small numbers continue to move onwards to Piedras Negras in the hopes of gaining access to the United States of America. Between January and February 2019, over 15,000 humanitarian visitor cards had been delivered. To the end of February, 7,941 people had sought asylum. The Mexican government has informed people can request information on applications for Humanitarian Visitor Cards at the Mexican embassies in their countries of origin. Shelters at Tecun Uman (Guatemala) and El Palillo (Mexico) have now been dismantled. In light of these mixed movements of asylum-seekers and migrants, the United Nations system and partners in the field have been deploying teams to the borders to support governments in the countries of origin, transit and destination in responding to the specific needs of these groups, according to the respective mandates.