Number of Refugees, Migrants from Venezuela Reaches 3 Million

Posted: 
11/09/18
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Refugee and Asylum Issues

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency announced yesterday (08/11) that the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide has now reached three million.

According to data from national immigration authorities and other sources, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host an estimated 2.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, while other regions account for the rest.

"Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have largely maintained a commendable open-door policy to refugees and migrants from Venezuela; however, their reception capacity is severely strained, requiring a more robust and immediate response from the international community if this generosity and solidarity are to continue," said Eduardo Stein, UNHCR-IOM Joint Special Representative for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela.

Colombia has the highest number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela – a total of over one million. It is followed by Peru, with over half a million; Ecuador, over 220,000; Argentina, 130,000; Chile, over 100,000 and Brazil, 85,000.

In addition to South American countries, countries in Central America and the Caribbean also recorded increasing arrivals of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Panama, for example, is now hosting 94,000 Venezuelans.

With rising numbers, the needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the communities hosting them have also significantly increased.

Governments in the region are leading the humanitarian response and coordinating their efforts, including through the Quito Process, which has been an important step towards a regional approach to scale up the response and harmonize policies. The second Quito meeting of governments from the region will take place on 22 and 23 November.

To support this response, the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform, established in September and composed of 40 partners and participants, including UN Agencies, other international organizations, civil society and faith-based organizations, is strengthening the operational response and working on a humanitarian Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (RMRP), to be launched in December.

The RMRP will focus on four strategic areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration and capacity-building for the governments of receiving countries.

You can view this statement online here.

The members of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, are supporting the governments' response in the region.

Platform members are present in the field across the region providing direct emergency assistance and protection to refugees and migrants from Venezuela through the provision of basic health care, distribution of water and sanitation, blankets, hygiene kits, temporary accommodation, food and humanitarian transport, among others.

The Platform members have also strengthened their presence along key borders to provide information on legal status and documentation, regularization, rights and assistance.

The participants of the Platform are working to provide information on preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence, trafficking, smuggling and child protection. In addition, one of the initial products of the Platform is the development of a network of Support Spaces to provide a space for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, along with host communities, returnees and persons at risk of statelessness, among others, access up-to-date information and immediate standardized package of services and assistance.

Platform partners are increasingly giving priority to initiatives which facilitate socio-economic and cultural integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in their host communities. As an example, labour integration initiatives have been implemented in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. Different arrangements of vocational, employability and entrepreneurship training and orientation. Also, some members are making efforts and preparing to support municipalities on the long-term challenges and opportunities related to the arrival of refugees and migrants.

The participants of the Platform are also working to prevent xenophobia and sensitize on the importance of integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Some examples are the national campaigns recently implemented in Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica.

For more information contact: Juliana Quintero, IOM Regional Office, South America, Email: juquintero@iom.int, Tel: +54 1132488134

  • Colombia hosts the highest number of migrants and refugees from Venezuela.  Photo: IOM