UNHCR and IOM urge international community for more support with Venezuela refugee crisis
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director General of the United Nations Migration agency, William Lacy Swing, have appealed for an increase in international support for the current rates of migration from Venezuala.
It is estimated that 2.3 million Venezuelans live outside of the country, with 1.6 million people having left since 2015. The vast majority of these, about 90%, have remained within South America.
UNHCR and IOM have both applauded states in the region for their response to the crisis, generously hosting the Venezuelan’s who arrive at the border. The most common destinations for those leaving Venezuela are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. So far this year over 500,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Ecuador.
Earlier this month Ecuador declared a state of emergency following a sudden increase in Venezuelan migrants, in the first 14 days of August 43,000 Venezuelans entered the country. Declaring a state of emergency will allow Ecuador to assign additional resources to the crisis.
However, there are now concerns over recent development affecting refugees and migrants from Venezuela throughout the region such as new border entry requirements in Peru and ecuadaor and changes to temporary stay permits in Peru.
Filippo Grandi commented:
“We recognise the growing challenges associated with the large scale arrival of Venezuelans. It remains critical that any new measures continue to allow those in need of international protection to access safety and seek asylum”
William Lacy Swing added:
“We commend the efforts already made by receiving countries to provide Venezuelans with security, support and assistance. We trust that these demonstrations of solidarity will continue in the future”
The agencies have expressed particular concern for the most vulnerable members of society, such as: adolescents, women, people trying to reunite with their families and unaccompanied children. There are fears that unaccompanied children will not meet documentation requirements and risk being exploited, trafficked or abused.
According to UNHCR, IOM, and other UN agencies and partners there is an urgent need to increase international support in response plans and address pressing humanitarian needs to ensure safe transit and socio-economic intergration.
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Image credit: UNHCR