Internal Displacement and Forced Migration Forum

Welcome Remarks for the Forum
Lionel Arzu, Ombudsman of Belize
Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel
Newton Barrack, Belize City
May 25, 2016

Theme: “Internal Displacement and Forced Migration”

Dr. Roberto Herrera Caceres, Human Rights Commisioner, Honduras and President of the Central American Council for Human Rights
Ombudsmen and Defenders
Mr. David Ernesto Morales, Human Rights Defender, El Salvador
Other Human Rights Defenders and delegates from Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala
Mr. Eddie Webster, Clerk to the Natl. Assembly of Belize
Alex Golcher, Rep. of Cristosal Foundation
Mirla Carbajal, Rep. of IDHUCA
Members of the Diplomatic Corp and Consular Corp
Members of the Media houses
Invited guests
Ladies and gentlemen

A pleasant good night! It is indeed a great honor to extend a Belizean welcome to you all. In a few minutes we will begin this forum entitled, “Internal Displacement and Forced Migration”.

I also want to welcome members of the panel who will make presentations about their experiences working with migrants in Belize as well as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

During the 1980’s, Belize saw an influx of migrants due to civil war in neigboring countries. These migrants brought with them their way of life from their countries of origin and assimilated into the Belizean society.

They came seeking a better and waymore peaceful life for themselves, families and their children. Some of these migrants settled in Belize and called it home and others moved on to the USA again seeking an even better way of life. This forum is very important because it is about an exchange of ideas and experiences and it is a win-win situation, we will all gain from each other experiences. Hopefully, the experience exchanged and lessons learned will generate new ideas and influence change. This forum is a noble endeavor which will further cement the existing bonds between our countries. Furthermore, the most important resource of any nation is its human resource; thus, whatever it takes to protect the human rights of our citizens and migrants is a noble thing indeed.

I would like to welcome again all the visiting delegates to our beautiful country, Belize by the Caribbean Sea. Belizeans are hospitable people and we willingly welcome everyone and share our various cultures, dances, food and languages. I hope you will take some time out from your busy schedule to tour parts of Belize City or the country and enjoy the unique Belizean hospitality that we offer, and do take back pleasant memories with you when you all return home. I pray God’s guidance upon each of us present here and I look forward to great presentations and healthy discussions, as well as a safe and blessed evening.