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UNHCR Cuba Fact Sheet, January - February 2022

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Cuba is not a State party to international refugee instruments. UNHCR provides international protection to refugees under its mandate. With support from the government, UNHCR ensures that refugees are protected against refoulement and that they have access to healthcare and education services.

As local integration opportunities are very limited, a considerable number of refugees in Cuba are in need of resettlement. However, opportunities for resettlement are limited.

Vulnerabilities of asylum-seekers and refugees have further increased due to the COVID-19 related social and economic downturn, and shortages of basic items (like food and medicine) affect refugees and host communities alike.


With governmental consent, UNHCR processes asylum claims under its mandate. While refugees can access free healthcare and education services, all those who arrived in the country with tourist visas are not granted a migratory status and are not allowed to engage in income-generating activities, which leads to dependency on UNHCR assistance. Moreover, during the economic crisis associated to the COVID-19 pandemic, the socio-economic situation of persons of concern has considerably worsened, with difficulties to access food, hygiene items, and medicines. As a result of UNHCR's advocacy, refugees and asylum-seekers who lack a migratory status were exceptionally granted access to the governmental rationing system, and all the population of concern was included in the national COVID-19 vaccination program.

UNHCR continues participating in the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework signed with the Cuban government, as well as in the UN Socio-Economic COVID-19 Response Plan to protect vulnerable groups, including refugees and asylum-seekers.