Cross-border meeting on migration between Mexico and Belize

10 October, 2017

Mexico. On the 1st of September, IOM organized for the first time a cross-border meeting in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, attended by the authorities of Chetumal, Quintana Roo (Mexico), and authorities in Belize. 

The meeting focused on the migratory dynamics of the region Chetumal – Sub- Teniente Lopez and Santa Elena – Corozal. Participants analyzed actions related to the main challenges of migration management and protection of the most vulnerable migrants.

During the meeting the migratory context affecting the region was covered, and the complexity of mixed migratory flows was exposed, also focusing on the reality of migrant workers in the agriculture sector specifically the sugar industry which has presence in both cross-border towns.

IOM emphasized the need to offer differentiated attention to migrants in conditions of high vulnerability, securing their human rights in line with the corresponding international, regional and local legal frameworks. 

Some of the main cross-border collaboration proposals identified during the meeting included the need to share best practices on migration management, strengthening cooperation between diplomatic representations in both countries to benefit their citizens abroad, positioning migration in local and border community agendas, and reactivating physical and virtual spaces for the provision of assistance and orientation to migrants.

Historically, Mexico and Belize have maintained a close relationship, which has been strengthened through permanent high level meetings and a variety of regional forums. Among the treaties developed during these encounters, the ones on border security and the fight against organized crime stand out. 

However, due to the strict national security policy in both countries, and the existence of only two official border crossings along the land and maritime border shared by Mexico and Belize, persons use alternate routes and irregular alternatives to avoid such controls, exposing them to higher risks.

Additionally, the lack of specialized studies on the migratory dynamics of this border, as well as the low visibility of Belize as part of Mesoamerica, resulting on in the country`s less visible presence in the discussions and challenges faced by Central America and the South of Mexico related to migratory issues, has labeled it as the ``forgotten border``.

Because of such, IOM, through the Regional Program Mesoamerica, seeks to include Belize in the context of its operations.

The cross border meeting was attended by the H. Town House Othon P. Blanco, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, the National Institute for Migration, the Secretariat of Work and Social Prevision, the Federal Police, the College of the Southern Border of in Chetumal and the University of Quintana Roo from Mexico; and the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Human Services Department, , the National Police Department, the Labor Department, the Department of Immigration and National Services, the Refugees Department, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the NGOs Help for Progress and Our Circle from Belize.

This meeting was one of the activities supported by IOM through the Mesoamerica Program ``Strengthening the capacities for the Protection and Assistance to migrant people in situations of vulnerability`` financed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State of the United States of America.

To get more information, please Claudette Walls from IOM México, Tel: +52 962 642 56 74, Email: