Refugees in Mexico and the Dynamics of Asylum in the Americas

Refugees in Mexico and the Dynamics of Asylum in the Americas

“Refugees in Mexico and the Dynamics of Asylum in the Americas”
By Mark Manly
Sun, Mar 15, 3‒4:30pm
Camino Silvestre, Correo 43

By Silvia Garduño

Mexico has become a destination country for refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution. In other words, Mexico is no longer solely a transit country for people looking to reach the United States to seek asylum but has become a place where entire families seek to escape from the risks and dangers in their countries of origin.

According to data from the Mexican Commission for Refugees (COMAR), 2,137 people claimed asylum in Mexico in 2014. Since then, this number has exponentially increased year by year. In 2019, 70,302 people claimed asylum in Mexico, an increase of 137 percent compared to 2018. Most of these people come from countries in the North of Central America and Venezuela, although there were also asylum seekers from Haiti, Cuba, and some African countries. Of the total number of people who applied for asylum last year, one third are women, 15 percent boys, and 13 percent girls.

To address this situation, Mark Manly, Representative of the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Mexico, will give a conference in San Miguel de Allende, in a Special Sunday Afternoon Salon, entitled “Refugees in Mexico and the dynamics of asylum in America.” UNHCR has the mandate to protect refugees internationally. In Mexico, UNHCR supports government efforts to identify people who need international protection and direct them to the refugee status determination procedure carried out by COMAR. In addition, UNHCR seeks to protect the refugees’ access to health, education, decent work, and integration in the societies that receive them in different states of the country, including Guanajuato.

He will discuss UNHCR’s work with civil society shelters for migrants and asylum-seekers across the country, its legal aid work, and its large-scale relocation and employment program whereby refugees are moved from border areas and matched to jobs in central and northern cities.

Mark Manly is Canadian. He graduated from McGill University and has an LLM from the University of Essex, UK, with a specialization in Human Rights. Mark has held important positions in Guatemala with the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) and in Kosovo with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Since 2001, he has worked for the Office of UNHCR in Costa Rica, Colombia, and at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva as Head of the Statelessness Unit and Senior Legal Coordinator for Statelessness. Since 2015, he has been the representative of UNHCR in Mexico.

The presentation will take place at Camino Silvestre, Correo 43, from 3–4:30pm on Sunday, March 15. Entry is free.

You can follow UNHCR’s work in Mexico on Twitter at @AcnurMexico (Spanish) and @MarkManly (Spanish and English).