UNHCR and SIMN Sign Agreement to Foster Refugee Protection and Solutions

Bogotá, Colombia, February 10th, 2021 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), formalizing a long-standing partnership.

The agreement which was signed on Tuesday at one of the SIMN’s shelters in Bogota, strengthens the decade old collaboration and places particular emphasis on the provision of emergency assistance and shelter. It also focuses on education, public health, and protection services along key routes in border areas where displaced populations pass through.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi commended the strong partnership with the SIMN, particularly in the Latin American region where he observed first-hand the vital role they play in safeguarding and promoting the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and displaced people. The shelter in Bogota serves as a safe house for uprooted families that would otherwise sleep rough, providing them with legal and psychosocial counselling, shelter, medical assistance and tools for social integration and livelihoods.

It is meaningful to celebrate our enhanced partnership in this shelter, which is a place of generosity and humanity,” Grandi said. “This is home to many Venezuelan refugees, migrants and displaced Colombians and represents a beacon of solidarity.”

In the spirit of the Global Compact, both organizations reinforced their commitment to work towards long-term solutions from the onset of the crises, enhancing refugee self-reliance, fostering inclusion, and providing sustainable support to forcibly displaced communities and host communities alike.

« This cooperation agreement represents a framework for expanding and strengthening our mutual collaboration in the various countries where UNHCR and the Scalabrinian Missionaries are already working together in the implementation of different programs for the protection of refugees, internally displaced people and stateless persons,” emphasized Fr. Sergio Dall’Agnese, President of the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN).

The signature of this MoU coincides with Grandi’s visit to Colombia and Costa Rica to draw attention to the humanitarian needs of refugees and other displaced populations in the region as well as their hosting communities which are struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please contact:

In New York, Josue Bustillo, SIMN, josue.bustillo@simn-global.org

In Panama, Olga Sarrado, UNHCR, sarrado@unhcr.org


Photo Credit: UNHCR/Santiago Escobar