New York, NY, May 12, 2022 — Despite the urgent humanitarian needs of 7 million Venezuelans inside the country and the challenges faced by the 6 million people who have left for host communities, support and funding from the international community has been insufficient, warns the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Across Latin America, multiple, overlapping humanitarian crises and a lack of collaborative solutions continue to place millions of people in deteriorating living conditions and force many to move in search of safety and peace. protection. To address the current emergencies in the region, including the one facing Venezuelans, a comprehensive and harmonized response is needed. In preparation for the Summit of the Americas, participating countries should sign a regional declaration on migration and protection. As the States of the Americas negotiate the application of this agreement, the IRC recommends that:
Donors and host states agree on concrete funding and responsibility-sharing commitments, in addition to creating a framework for the harmonization of migration policies across the region. Such policies should be agreed with strong input from civil society, including aspects such as protection; Documentation; access to education, work and health care; and regulatory pathways.
International financial institutions incorporate lessons learned from multilaterally supported and funded compact initiatives in other humanitarian and protection emergencies in responses in Latin America.
Engagement of non-US donors is encouraged, promoted by actors such as the UNHCR, the World Bank and the United States to strengthen humanitarian responses in Latin America.
Meghan Lopez, Regional Vice President for Latin America at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said:
“As negotiations on displacement and migration continue between Latin American and American authorities ahead of the Summit of the Americas, we call for the development of a harmonized regional response to the humanitarian crises affecting the region, including that faced by Venezuelans.
“Latin American countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have assumed the response to the needs of Venezuelans despite insufficient support from the international community. For example, in 2021, only 40% of what was required by Venezuela’s humanitarian response plan has been funded. Meanwhile, Mexico continues to welcome people seeking safety from across Latin America and beyond, including thousands of Venezuelans. With the third highest number of asylum applications last year, Mexico faces challenges in providing security and support to those in need, as even the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission ( COMAR) was radically understaffed. While the United States has become the largest donor – providing 66% of the funding secured for the region’s six humanitarian response plans and the refugee and migrant response plan for Venezuela in 2021 – there is a opportunity to lead the response to a situation that threatens stability in the region.
“Organizing a compact agreement is crucial to bringing together donors – including non-U.S. donors – and international financial institutions to galvanize long-term funding for the response, standardize policies in host countries, and to unite the global community to address a crisis that otherwise might be forgotten.
Challenges ahead for Venezuelans
In the Emergency Watchlist 2022, the IRC has identified Venezuela as one of the 20 countries most likely to experience a significant deterioration in their humanitarian conditions in the current year. According to the IRC report, more than 7 million Venezuelans in the country are in need of assistance, facing risks ranging from the escalation of the conflict resulting from clashes between national forces and non-state armed groups, to the growing hunger and the effects of COVID. -19 on the economy and even the health system.
But the difficulties for Venezuelans persist even after they arrive in host communities. While Latin American countries have taken in large numbers of Venezuelans, a combination of differing immigration policies and strained national systems is straining their ability to respond:
In Colombiastill recovering from its own armed conflict, it is expected that 7.7 million people will be in humanitarian need in 2022. digital illiteracy or lack of documentation to access these mechanisms or even services basics, including health care and education.
Peru, the second-largest host, has seen COVID-related consequences worsen the living conditions of Venezuelans in the country. According to an assessment conducted by the IRC in late 2021, Venezuelans faced dire needs related to equitable and secure income-generating opportunities, food security, and access to healthcare and medicine.
In Ecuador, the third largest host with more than 500,000 Venezuelans, access to livelihood opportunities and basic services is a daily struggle. The rise of xenophobia is another obstacle: 56% of people surveyed by the IRC say they have experienced it at least once.
The IRC’s response to the Venezuelan crisis
The IRC is on the ground to provide a collective response to holistically – and timely – support Venezuelans where they need it most: implementing programming with a blended model of partnerships with local organizations and a directly implemented in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and providing support to populations at risk through local organizations in Venezuela.
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