Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Patrick Andrews headed Belize’s delegation to the High-Level Segment on Statelessness (HLS) and the 70th Session of the Executive Commission (ExCom) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Programme. The events are being held from the 7th to 11th October 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The HLS marks the midpoint of the UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign to end statelessness by 2024. Belize is party to both international conventions on statelessness and was recognised during a HLS side event for acceding to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 2015. Furthermore, Belize submitted concrete pledges on actions to be taken within its jurisdiction to address statelessness.

Belize shared its complex experience arising from its proximity to countries with high emigration rates, underscoring climate change as an important contributing factor to the growing trend of forced displacement, particularly for Small Island Developing States and low-lying coastal regions. Belize emphasized its continued commitment to regional programmes such as the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework to address migration and refugee challenges. Belize reiterated its readiness to continue cooperating with international partners to address these issues and thanked the UNHCR for the invaluable assistance it has provided to all stakeholders in Belize.

CEO Patrick Andrews was supported at the 70th Session of ExCom by Mr. Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels.