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UNFPA Assists Migrant & Asylum-Seeking Families in Belize to Access Legal Assistance

In late 2020, UNFPA Belize  developed and implemented a model of Mobile Women’s Centers in hard to reach and rural communities with a package of essential services. The initiative was undertaken through the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls to help ensure that essential services reach and empower those who are most vulnerable and furthest behind – a model which has since been adopted by other partners in targeted communities. 

UNFPA, through its CSO partner, the Human Rights Commission of Belize, with funding from the Spotlight Initiative, continued one of the services in 2021, delivering one-on-one Legal advice and legal assistance to 145 individuals (88 females, 57 males) on family law, inheritance, property matters, immigration, etc., including follow up case management for legal assistance support and referrals. 

The legal support was delivered as part of a series of mobile clinics through a partnership between UN agencies, Government counterparts, civil society partners, and 50+ individual volunteers, made possible through various funding sources, in a large scale effort to coordinate assistance and support in response to the emerging issues of migrants, asylum seekers and the residents of their host communities.

UNFPA recognizes migration as an important force in development and a high-priority issue where almost half of all migrants are women, and most are of reproductive with specific needs and human rights concerns, including increased susceptibility to gender based violence which includes physical, psychological, socio-economic and sexual violence. 
Belize is currently home to an estimated 51,000 migrant persons as well as 2,394 registered and an estimated 3,400 unregistered asylum seekers and refugees hailing mostly from neighbouring countries in Central America.