Global Compact for Refugees - UNHCR



Mexico is currently facing increasing arrivals of persons in need of international protection, mainly from Central America, Venezuela, North Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, with the highest recognition rate of refugees as compared to the rest of the Americas. On 23 May 2017, the Government of Mexico agreed to participate in the process leading to a Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS), under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior through the Mexican Refugee Commission (COMAR). Subsequent local consultations took place with the participation of a wide range of actors, including federal entities, civil society, international organizations, the academia, and persons of concern. The consultations were structured around the four CRRF thematic pillars and resulted in a document identifying protection gaps and recommendations that served as a basis for the Mexican MIRPS chapter, released by COMAR and the Technical Secretariat. The national chapter lays out actions to be implemented within a two-year period and with a view not to establish parallel actions but rather strengthen and expand previously assumed regional commitments.


Commitments towards the MIRPS application

The concrete gaps and corresponding actions to implement the MIRPS in Mexico build on existing international and regional commitments and include, among others, the following:

Pillar 1 – Reception and Admission

  • Increase the number of alternatives to administrative detention for asylum-seekers, in particular for unaccompanied children and adolescents, families, elderly, and persons in need of health care by creating an alternate legal care entity;
  • Allowing for the reception of asylum applications at places designated for international transit and strengthening the coordination between COMAR and the National Migration Institute (INM) for a more flexible issuance of documentation, and monitoring of refugee status determination (RSD) procedures.
  • To facilitate the integration of asylum-seekers into local society.
  • Strengthen early identification of persons with specific needs in order to easily activate the respective protection mechanisms, for example by developing information campaigns on the rights of asylum-seekers
  • Incorporate refugees into the mental health scheme, including training for relevant officials.

Pillar 2 – Immediate and ongoing needs

  • Increase human, material and financial resources to provide mental healthcare for survivors of sexual or gender-based violence, as well as victims of trafficking and addicts;
  • Strengthen refugees’ vocational skills, in addition to training them as “educational consultants” for staff in migrant centres;
  • Open the “Education without Borders” programme, which seeks to speed-up the integration within the national education system, not just for returnees but also for refugees.

Pillar 3 – Support to host countries and communities

  • Develop impact studies that analyse refugee inclusion in national programmes and services, jointly with the Ministry of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Interior;
  • Develop campaigns to prevent stereotyping and xenophobia, implementing peaceful coexistence projects and fostering spaces for cultural exchange and learning;
  • Include refugees in the social mandate of institutions to create sustainable development policies;
  • Mobilize refugees and asylum-seekers to support reconstruction efforts in the areas that have been affected by the September 2017 earthquake along the migration route;
  • Work with UNDP to identify financial support opportunities for the development of border ‘cities of solidarity’ and integration.

Pillar 4 – Durable solutions

  • Strengthen spaces for dialogue with the private sector and civil society to work with government branches in advancing the integration of the refugee population;
  • Harmonize labour inclusion mechanisms for asylum-seekers and refugees with a Unique Population Registry Code (CURP);
  • Develop a guide and training on the National Employment System to facilitate access to services and benefits such as grants, trainings, internships and support for self-employment;
  • Evaluate housing programmes to facilitate the timely and effective access of refugees;
  • Provide authorities, officials, banks and the private sector with information about refugees’ permanent residency card as a sole requirement for access to social care, financial and private services and governmental development programmes;


Key actors involved

Government actors involved in the MIRPS in Mexico are the COMAR, the INM and line ministries such as the Ministries of Interior; of Foreign Affairs; of Labor and Social Security; of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development and of Social Development. These Government entities work closely with a range of different stakeholders including civil society, chambers of commerce, the private sector, financial institutions, and United Nations agencies like UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF and leaders in communities hosting refugees.

Latest developments

Joint actions to improve access to education for refugees and asylum-seekers

The Ministry of Education and UNHCR have agreed to coordinate several joint actions to improve access to education for refugees and asylum-seekers. These include the design of a brochure that provides information on how children of concern can access the right to education. Moreover, the Ministry of Education facilitated school enrolment of asylum-seeking children in the decentralized Chiapas Region, by removing the requirement of documentation from their country of origin. 154 children were thus enrolled in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Refugees and asylum-seekers contribute to the review of 2030 Agenda implementation in Mexico

With the aim of contributing to the 2030 Agenda and reach “the furthest behind first”, UNHCR undertook consultations with refugees and asylum-seekers from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela. The results have informed Mexico’s 2018 Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the progress made in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The VNR report also captures how refugees and asylum-seekers can contribute to achieving the SDGs, and the linkages between 2030 Agenda, asylum and integration.

Positive announcements made by the Government on World Refugee Day

On World Refugee Day, the Secretary of Interior announced the issuance of a provisional Unique Population Registry Code (CURP) for asylum-seekers, as well as the increase of COMAR’s budget by 150 per cent and its staffing by 84 per cent. Although further details are yet to be clarified, the issuance of a provisional CURP to asylum-seekers is of the utmost significance because it will widen the access to opportunities for formal employment, health care and education, among others.


The lack of modalities to provide a correct and concrete follow-up to MIRPS commitments makes it difficult to generate information as well as to plan, design, implement and evaluate public policies among relevant actors. As a result, systems in place might be over-burdened with government officials not being able to respond to the needs vis-à-vis the increasing demand.


  • Contact person in UNHCR BO Mexico

Jose Rene Paz Hernandez,

  • Contact person in UNHCR RO Panama

Diana Diaz Rodriguez,

Hugues Van Brabandt,

  • Contact person in UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas 

Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin,

See other MIRPS countries: 


Costa Rica




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