As part of the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, to the country, the President of the Republic Carlos Alvarado informed that a new agreement will be signed to provide health insurance to 10,000 asylum seekers and refugees.
This agreement with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), which will be covered financially by UNHCR, seeks to extend the health insurance already enjoyed by 6,000 of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers from 2020, and to reach an additional 4,000 people by 2021.
President Alvarado, together with Foreign Minister Rodolfo Solano, Deputy Foreign Minister Guillermet Fernández, Deputy Minister of Interior and Police Carlos Andrés Torres, Director of Foreign Policy Alejandra Solano and Deputy Director General of Migration and Foreign Affairs Daguer Hernández, received the High Commissioner at the Presidential House, who is touring Latin America and has included Costa Rica in his programme as an important partner in the region.
He reaffirmed his support for the implementation of refugee protection and integration policies and initiatives, adding that “we know this will make a huge difference to the quality of life of families who have fled their countries in search of refuge to safeguard their lives and those of their families, especially at a time when the pandemic has shown the great inequality gaps around the world”.
During the meeting between the two officials and their respective delegations, they discussed the situation the country is going through due to the pandemic and the impact it has had on the mixed movements of migrants and people seeking international protection arriving in Costa Rica.
Alvarado stressed the importance of addressing these issues from a regional approach in order to seek comprehensive solutions. He also highlighted the impact of climate change on migratory flows, and mentioned the example of people who see the impact of droughts and floods on their crops and this forces them to move to look for better options for their families.
On the other hand, the President announced that our country will continue for two more years with MINARE, as it has been working as Costa Rica’s national chapter in the Regional Integrated Framework for Protection and Solutions (MIRPS), through which it has managed to consolidate the country’s leadership in terms of protection and response to asylum seekers and has promoted the coordination of actions of national institutions in accordance with their competences.
Despite enormous constraints, the Government of Costa Rica has maintained its long tradition of welcoming and implementing policies and initiatives for the protection and integration of refugees. The national commitment to respect for human rights has remained intact as a cornerstone of our efforts to achieve the socio-economic integration of the migrant and refugee population as one of the drivers of development.
In its capacity as Pro Tempore Presidency of SICA, the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry has taken advantage of the visit to organise a virtual meeting of the UNHCR High Commissioner with the Foreign Ministers of the SICA member countries in order to address the situation of displaced persons in the region.
The High Commissioner’s working visit provided an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the situation, exchange views and, above all, strengthen the excellent cooperation ties that exist between the Government of Costa Rica and UNHCR, as well as other partners.