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OAS General Secretariat and Costa Rica Agree to Strengthen Assistance and Protection for More than 23,000 Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  November 14, 2023

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS) and the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica, through the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners and University of Costa Rica Foundation, signed an agreement on Friday November 10 that establishes the starting point for the project "Strengthening the Identification and Referral of Persons Applying for Refugee Status and/or with Profiles of Special Vulnerability through the Modernization of Costa Rica's Refugee Unit Platform."

The project will be implemented between 2023 and 2024 with funding from the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework Fund (MIRPS Fund), established within the OAS and administered by its Department of Social Inclusion.

With the implementation of this project, improvements will be made to the Refugee Unit's procedures, making it possible to provide prompt attention to refugee status applicants deserving of international protection. Approximately 23,000 people will benefit from this project, as well as nearly 10,000 other refugee status applicants with some type of vulnerability, located throughout Costa Rican territory.

The initiative is part of the first portfolio of projects of the MIRPS Fund, launched with the pioneering contribution of Spain.

The event was attended by the Director General of Migration and Foreigners, Martha González Vindas; the Representative of the OAS General Secretariat in Costa Rica, Milagro Martínez; the Ambassador of Spain in Costa Rica, Eva Martínez Sánchez; the Deputy Director of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Paola Porras Pastrán; the Senior Protection Officer of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Francisco Martínez; the Regional Coordinator of the MIRPS Fund, Melissa Pocasangre Mijango; and the Executive Delegate of the University of Costa Rica Foundation, José Alberto Moya Segura.

About the MIRPS Fund:

The MIRPS Fund is the specific fund of voluntary contributions of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS for its acronym in Spanish) to Forced Displacement in Central America and Mexico, unanimously approved by the Permanent Council of the OAS on May 27, 2020, in compliance with the mandate of the GS/OAS by the highest political body of the Organization during the OAS General Assembly held in 2019 in the city of Medellin, Colombia.

The MIRPS Fund is one of the mechanisms for the collection and channeling of financial resources through voluntary contributions that allow the 7 MIRPS countries (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama) to comply with the commitments acquired in the framework of this process, responding from an approach of shared responsibility to the challenges posed by forced displacement in this region, in order to protect and improve the living conditions of people who have been forcibly displaced and the communities that host them. But also, in light of the challenges that have unfortunately already intensified with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will require additional investments and efforts to address the needs of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and returnees in need of protection in this region.

About MIRPS:

The Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) is an innovative mechanism for the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees to facilitate regional cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination for greater shared responsibility for prevention, protection and durable solutions in the face of increased forced displacement in Central America and Mexico. The MIRPS Technical Secretariat is comprised of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department of Social Inclusion.

Reference: E-076/23