Global Compact for Refugees - UNHCR


Process leading to the MIRPS in Guatemala

Pursuant to its commitments to international law and the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers, the Government of Guatemala joined the MIRPS in April 2017. In this respect, an Executive Committee was created comprised of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNHCR, UNDP, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the UN Resident Coordinator in Guatemala. The Committee has approved the design of a methodology and matrix as a basis for the development of a national operational plan to provide a comprehensive response to refugees and asylum-seekers. Going forward, the Committee’s responsibilities will also include reviewing progress made in implementing the MIRPS in Guatemala. In May 2017, the Government of Guatemala carried-out eight national consultations with national institutions, the MIRPS Executive Committee, UN agencies and civil society organizations. It was agreed to focus on four populations of concern as per the Guatemalan context: a) asylum-seekers and refugees; b) persons in transit with international protection needs; c) deportees with specific protection needs; and d) persons at heightened risk. Out of the four CRRF Pillars, Guatemala focuses on three: Reception and Admission; Immediate and Persistent Needs, and Expand Opportunities for Durable Solutions.

Prioritized commitments

Several activities have been taken forward by the Government of Guatemala to deliver on existing commitments, inter alia, the issuance of Refugee Documents, ensuring the right to identity; support for the protection and the generation of livelihoods for refugees and asylum-seekers; the Guate te incluye programme to generate a national approach to the social and labour inclusion of returned migrants of Guatemala; and the implementation of the PTA for persons at high risk through a Letter of Understanding between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNHCR.


Prioritized actions that have been identified for Guatemala’s National Action Plan include:

Pillar 1 – Reception and admission:

  • Strengthen the institutional capacity of the General Directorate of Migration/Guatemalan Institute of Migration, particularly in matters of assistance and protection;
  • Prepare the implementing regulations and update the current protocols in accordance with the Migration Code, ensuring that asylum applications, humanitarian visas and other protective measures are duly reflected;
  • Train and raise awareness of officials working with migrant populations for the incorporation of age, gender and diversity sensitive perspective, and paying special attention to unaccompanied children and adolescents, women at risk, LGBTI persons, victims of trafficking, elderly persons and persons with disabilities;
  • Guarantee safe transit through Guatemala, by designing a mechanism to register cases and reporting of human rights violations committed against migrants in transit through the territory.

 Pillar 2 – Support for immediate and ongoing needs:

  • Negotiate and implement regional and international agreements for the recognition of academic qualifications, with special attention to the specific needs and difficulties refugees face when presenting documentation from their countries of origin;
  • Coordinate actions with local education authorities and national institutions for the inclusion of Migrant Children and Adolescents (MCA) and youth into the national education system;
  • Formulate and implement a roadmap for the accreditation and certification of labour skills of the Guatemalan migrant population.

Pillar 4 – Durable solutions:

  • Modify the labour regulations to enable refugees and asylum-seekers to access occupational training programmes;
  • Design awareness-raising campaigns aimed at the business sector and public officials on the rights of refugees, especially in terms of the labour market and access to services;
  • Prioritize the processing and issuance of work permits for refugees and asylum-seekers.


Key actors involved

A MIRPS Executive Committee has been formed composed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the OAS, and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Guatemala, UNHCR, and UNDP. The role of the Executive Committee is to develop a methodology and format of the MIRPS matrix, which would allow to operationalize and quantify the existing needs, actions and financial resources required for the implementation of MIRPS.

Key stakeholders that are involved in applying comprehensive responses to displacement in Guatemala include the National Commission for Refugees, the National Migration Authority, the Commission for the Comprehensive Care of Migrant Children and Adolescents, non-governmental organizations, civil society such as the Human Mobility Pastoral, United Nations Agencies, International organizations, and the private sector.

For the 2018-2020 MIRPS implementation period, prioritized needs, actions and final resources have been determined for the three Pillars. This process has been consolidated through three working groups lead by national institutions and supported by civil society and UNHCR:

  1. Reception and Admission: National Commission for Refugees (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Directorate of Migration/National Guatemala Institute of Migration, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior, NGO Pastoral de Movilidad Humana, and UNHCR);
  2. Immediate and Persistent Needs: The Commission for the Integral Attention of Migrant Children and Adolescents (Secretary of Social Welfare and General Attorney’s Office);
  3. Expand Opportunities for Durable Solutions: The Labour Mobility Board (Ministry of Labour).


Challenges and next steps

Over the past months, a matrix of MIRPS priorities accompanied by financial commitments was developed by the three working groups and discussed with the Executive Committee. The matrix is a “living” document to be reviewed and modified according to existing or forthcoming needs of each institution. A MIRPS consultant assisted in the quantification of available financial resources within existing programmes of national institutions involved in the three working groups. This quantification exercise aimed to help identify resource gaps for MIRPS activities, which would assist in prioritizing external funding.

The budgetary planning process for the implementation of Guatemala’s national chapter will soon undergo final validation and endorsement. The dissemination of Guatemala’s national MIRPS commitments with the objective of raising awareness about asylum matters is due, as well as to set up a monitoring mechanism to accompany the implementation process.

  • Contact person in UNHCR NO Guatemala

Shant Dermegerditchian,

  • Contact person in UNHCR RO Panama

Diana Diaz Rodiguez,

Hugues Van Brabandt,  

  • Contact person in UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas 

Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin,

See other MIRPS countries: 


Costa Rica




Go back to the regional MIRPS page


View all highlights


UNHCR Guatemala - Fact Sheet April 2019

Central America and Mexico Guatemala | Country/situation updates
330 KB

Guatemala is a country of origin, transit, return and asylum for refugees and migrants. Given the multi-causality of displacement in the NCA, and the increasing number of persons transiting through Guatemala to seek protection, ensuring a safe and dignified transit is a key priority for the operation. This fact sheet provides an overview of UNHCR's main activities in Guatemala.

Published: 1 May, 2018 (2 months ago )
Uploaded: 1 May, 2018 (2 months ago )

Two Year Progress Assessment of the CRRF Approach (Sep 2016 - Sep 2018)

Afghanistan Belize Costa Rica Central America and Mexico Panama Uganda Zambia Guatemala Mexico Honduras Chad Djibouti Kenya Somali Situation Rwanda Ethiopia | Studies and reports
2 MB

This report was prepared by the Evaluation Service, UNHCR.

Published: 1 May, 2018 (4 months ago )
Uploaded: 1 May, 2018 (4 months ago )

The MIRPS: A Regional Integrative Response To Forced Displacement

Belize Central America and Mexico Costa Rica Guatemala Honduras Mexico Panama | Studies and reports
1 MB

This document contains the results of a case study conducted by UNHCR with the support of the European Union, on the MIRPS as an integrated regional response to forced displacement.

Published: 1 May, 2018 (7 months ago )
Uploaded: 1 May, 2018 (7 months ago )

MIRPS poster - Americas, September 2018

Central America and Mexico Belize Costa Rica Guatemala Honduras Panama Mexico | CRRF posters
722 KB

This poster provides an overview of the regional commitments, developments and next steps in applying the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (CRPSF, "MIRPS" in Spanish) in Central America and Mexico.

Published: 1 May, 2018 (10 months ago )
Uploaded: 1 May, 2018 (10 months ago )

MIRPS póster: la aplicación del Marco de Respuesta Integral para los Refugiados en Norte y Centroamérica, Junio de 2018

Central America and Mexico Belize Costa Rica Guatemala Honduras Mexico Panama | CRRF posters
711 KB

Acorde con la larga tradición de cooperación regional para responder a los desafíos de protección, seis Estados de la región - Belice, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, México y Panamá- adoptaron la Declaración de San Pedro Sula el 26 de octubre de 2017, y acordaron trabajar de forma conjunta en el continuo desarrollo e implementación del Marco Integral Regional para la Protección y Soluciones (MIRPS). El MIRPS es una iniciativa pionera en la aplicación del Marco de Respuesta Integral para los Refugiados (CRRF, por sus siglas en inglés) y una contribución concreta de la región en el desarrollo del Pacto Mundial sobre los Refugiados.

Published: 1 May, 2018 (1 year ago )
Uploaded: 1 May, 2018 (1 year ago )

View all documents