Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BVI – UN Refugee Agency strengthens ties

By Government of the British Virgin Islands

TORTOLA, BVI – The British Virgin Islands (BVI) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have pledged to strengthen engagement as the Caribbean sees a steady rise in irregular migration, alongside an increase in asylum cases and the number of refugees across the subregion.

BVI Special Envoy Benito Wheatley and UNHCR Regional Representative for the United States of America (USA) and the Caribbean Matthew Reynolds held discussions on the challenges posed to the Caribbean by irregular migration during a courtesy call at the UNHCR Multi-Country Office (MCO) USA office in Washington, DC.

Among other things, they discussed the economic, social and legal issues involved in addressing the plight of irregular migrants who have been displaced or are fleeing violence and instability in their home countries, including the availability of additional financial resources by Caribbean governments to effectively respond.

UNHCR Protection Associate for the Caribbean Samantha Bipat provided an update on the state of play of asylum seekers and refugees across the subregion and emphasised the need for greater social protection, especially for women and children.

Matthew affirmed the UNHCR’s commitment to strengthening engagement with the BVI as a host country of a refugee population.

Commenting on the meeting, Wheatley said: “The British Virgin Islands welcomes UNHCR’s deepening engagement with the Government on irregular migration, asylum case management, and refugee matters, and looks forward to discussing further the assistance the UN’s refugee agency can provide to support the Government’s ongoing efforts regarding refugees currently on-island.”

The UNHCR MCO-USA office covers the USA and 18 Caribbean countries and territories, including the British Virgin Islands.



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