Remarks at Launch of UNHCR Supplementary Appeal for the Northern Triangle of Central America Situation

UNHCR Headquarters

Friends, ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon.

Let me welcome you to and thank you very much for finding the time to join us for this launch of UNHCR’s supplementary programme for the humanitarian situation – i.e. internal displacement and the refugee exodus – in and radiating out of Northern Triangle of Central America.

You will hear in a short while from my colleague the Bureau Director the details of the strategy and programme we are presenting here today and for which we are seeking your support.

In short, it is a strategy, first, to upscale and cement – for the thousands being displaced - a protection response within the NTCA itself and in the affected countries of external displacement.

Secondly, with respect to the external dimension of the displacement, the Plan is built on the imperative to support an effective system of asylum and protection response which matches the scale of the problem and its respective acute protection features.

Thirdly, the plan highlights the different elements of material assistance an urgent response for which is required.

Fourthly, the Plan ingrains solutions objectives in all that we plan to do as just indicated.

Finally, Ms Dubini will of course then overview the resources that we are appealing for to enable us deliver on this strategy.

On my part, what I would like to do in these brief opening remarks is to underscore some five other over-arching themes.

First of all, that we have in NTCA a grave and acute humanitarian and protection crisis that may even match if not exceed in particular respects some of those that are better evoked elsewhere today.

In this region, we have ten times the level of intentional homicide rates considered to be a pandemic, exceeded by only one situation of direct conflict deaths and well ahead of other better known brutal conflicts.

Organized gangs are wreaking violence and brutality on children, women, LGBTI and other members of society of such venality and extremity that thousands are left with no choice but to flee for safety elsewhere internally and externally under compelling and implacable conditions.

This leads to the second over-arching point I would like to make, namely that the true protection nature of the displacement crisis needs to be more blatantly exposed and acknowledged.

We are witnessing in this crisis features which, elsewhere, have even led to the invocation of prima facie determination of the need for protection under refugee obligations.

Yet, for the NTCA Situation, asylum and protection-based responses and management are on the whole relatively weak and of quite limited scope to the scale of the problem at large as migration, security and border control measures have in key respects leapt ahead of and masked the refugee, protection and humanitarian features imbedded in the situation. This explains the imperative Renata will underscore in a few minutes to build and/or firm up an asylum and protection-based response.

Thirdly, this if course both a national crisis for the countries of origin and those into which the refugees are seeking safety.

But it is also truly a regional crisis in all its dimensions including the humanitarian ones the subject of our conversation here today.

Thus, over beyond UNHCR’s institutional response we are presenting here today, a fundamental solution of the humanitarian, political, law, social and law and order fundamentals of the situation resides only in what has to be a truly regionalized framework of cooperation, collaboration and responsibility - sharing.

The supplementary programme we are presenting here today thus acknowledges initiatives or projects existing or taking shape in the region which it would seek constructively to leverage and optimize for maximum protection, assistance and solutions benefits for purposes of the NTCA Situation.

Fourth, while, today, we are presenting and naturally enough focusing on UNHCR, its strategic and operational plans, we likewise recognize the fundamental importance of partnership and synergy with all other players, above all States and within the framework, objectives and leveraging potential of the Brazil Plan of Action in whose strategic cockles the appeal is nested.

Finally, I of course would like to advocate for and appeal for all your support.

I start with the financial support we are seeking which comes to some $18.1 Million for the six months left of this year. The financial ask is critical to enable us establish, cement or increase our presence on the ground and achieve the key objectives and outputs elaborated in the appeal.

But the support we seek is not only financial.

Vitally, we ask for your support in firming up a vision and narrative of the situation we face as a very fundamental and abiding protection crisis for which protection-based solutions need to be escalated.

We thus ask you to support the engineering of a response that will enable these protection criticalities to be addressed as fundamentally, duly and comprehensively as they call for.

And finally, we call for your most resolute and decisive actions, efforts and initiatives beyond what UNHCR and other humanitarian actors can bring to bear in tackling and redressing the root causes that are subjecting the people of the NTCA region to some of the most egregious and compelling threats to their safety, lives and dignity and producing a protection crisis of forced displacement which even today still remains not well illuminated or understood in its humanitarian and protection features.

Thank you very much for your attention.