Belize: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today launched a video campaign entitled “Let’s Make Their Voices Heard” that invites Belizeans to learn and understand the real stories of asylum-seekers who have fled their countries due to violence and persecution and have found a new home in Belize.
Produced with the support of award-winning journalist and media and communications professional Marleni Cuellar, Miss Universe Belize 2018 and Female CARICOM Youth Ambassador Jenelli Fraser, Chef Sean Kuylen, singer Justin Castillo, and news anchor Sabreena Daly, these videos describe the tragedies and predicaments faced by thousands of people from Central America who had no other choice but to flee. For all the stories narrated by these five renowned Belizeans, it was a matter of flight or death.
“These people are mothers, fathers, children, and students who have gone through insurmountable challenges to save their lives,” said Yolanda Zapata, UNHCR’s Head of Office in Belize. “And despite the difficulties they’ve faced, they bring with them skills and talents, like farming and agriculture, medical training and other vocations, which can contribute to Belize.”
With over 2,000 registered and an estimated similar number of unregistered refugees and asylum seekers, Belize has become a place to start over for those who have fled violence.
Yet, misconceptions and xenophobia often hinder opportunities for many refugees and asylum seekers to better integrate into their communities. Through this campaign, UNHCR also highlights the humanity of these persons who come to Belize with hopes, dreams, and skills that they wish to integrate into a country that is rich in cultural diversity.
“They had no choice, but today you and I have the choice to help these people rebuild their lives and contribute to Belize. All they need is compassion, understanding, and humanity,” mention Jenelli Fraser, Marleni Cuellar, Sean Kuylen, Justin Castillo, and Sabreena Daly in their videos, calling for all Belizeans to become more understanding and to stand in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers.
The first five videos of the national campaign will air on UNHCR Belize’s Facebook page (UNHCR Belize) starting this Monday, 26 April 2021, ahead of this year’s World Refugee Day. A new video will be shared every Monday, ending with the last video on the 24th of May 2021.