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Dec 31, 1998

Government closes Refugee Department

Today the Ministry of National Security and Immigration closed the Refugee Department. According to the Ministry the traditional source of refugees to Belize, Latin America has progressed to democratically elected civilian governments and the last war ended two years ago removing the causes of the refugee problem. Because of this the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has withdrawn further funding for the refugee program in Belize and downsized its office. All those presently enjoying refugee status will be repatriated or offered some Belizean status, other than refugee. The Ministry says the details of this transition are still being worked out and in the meantime all current refugee cards will remain valid.

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