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No Asylum for Refugees in Belize

While the Refugee Department continues to work with various counterparts, it has also been looking at many cases, although none have been granted any asylum in the country. Director of the Refugees Department, Maria Marin, explains.


Director of the Refugees Department, Maria Marin:

“It’s a process, first of all we need to ensure that we have every step in the process taken care of, we have to address the entire process. The fact is that at the moment we see a mixture of persons coming in. The issue of the requirement , the issue of the satisfying the definition of a refugee is one so we want to be certain that when the refugee status is granted or where an asylum seeker is recognized as a refugee that we have taken care of every step in the process and that when we say that this person is a recognized refugee we indeed can justify that individual as a refugee. The training is always something good in speeding up processes but not because we want to speed up a process are we going to be careless about the process so to answer your question directly yes the training does help to make the process more reliable.”

In addition to this, Marin says that the department is keen on ensuring that those seeking refuge in Belize are not part of any criminal element.

Director of the Refugees Department, Maria Marin:

“We basically refer to our security forces through the special branch to do that research and background check for us and so the process is slow because of the reasons now it’s a bit slower than in the 80s and 90s because of the reasons behind people fleeing their country. “

Reporter: So far you haven’t been able to verify if any of these people are indeed gang members from El Salvador.

Director of the Refugees Department, Maria Marin:

“We have put some on hold because we are able to indicate that there is strong suspicion of that and so we will await the go ahead from the security forces which is the Special Branch of Belize before we decide on a positive recommendation to the minister for confirmation.”

Marin says there is no telling when anyone seeking asylum in Belize would be cleared and permitted to enter the country.