U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Belize
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||1 January 1999|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Belize , 1 January 1999, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8c128.html [accessed 27 July 2017]|
Belize hosted some 3,482 refugees in 1998. A large majority, 2,340, were from El Salvador. Among the 1,142 from other countries were 856 Guatemalans, 134 Nicaraguans, and 98 Hondurans. USCR previously considered 10,000 to 20,000 other Central Americans living in Belize without documentation to be in refugee-like circumstances. With the end of the conflicts in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and more recently, Guatemala, USCR no longer regards this population as refugee-like.
Belize has had a refugee determination process in place since 1991. However, since 1995 it has not recognized any persons as refugees. Under Belizean law, recognized refugees can apply for Belizean citizenship ten years after they receive their refugee status. According to UNHCR, at the end of 1998 Belize was considering a change in policy that would permit refugees to naturalize after just five years. Such a change would permit almost all refugees currently in Belize, many of whom have Belizean citizen children, to achieve durable solutions by 1999. UNHCR planned to close its office in Belize in 1999.
(In early 1999, Belize implemented the proposed change in its immigration policy, making it possible for all recognized refugees presently in Belize to naturalize by the year 2000.)