Joint UNHCR-IOM Press Release
Ahead of the International Donors’ Conference on 17 June, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) call for renewed international support to address the urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and to assist their host countries.
“As the exodus of Venezuelans is prolonged over time, it risks becoming a forgotten crisis,” said the Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, Eduardo Stein.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the region, and the future of millions of refugees and migrants and their hosts is at stake. Solidarity and commitment are needed more than ever to ensure the continued delivery of assistance.”
Prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many Venezuelan refugees and migrants to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive. The needs are dire in the areas of health, food security, water and basic sanitation, as well as access to education and opportunities to earn an income. The pandemic has also resulted in rising rates of evictions and homelessness, as well as a dramatic increase in reported cases of gender-based violence and mental health needs.
The continued departure of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is one of the largest external displacement crises in the world. To date, over 5.6 million people have left their country. In this context, the 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) brings together 159 organizations to respond to their urgent needs and to establish longer-term resilience and integration solutions targeting close to 3.3 million Venezuelans and host community members. Yet, the US$ 1.44 billion plan remains critically underfunded.
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host 80 per cent of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. They have continued to show their solidarity during the global health emergency, notably through the establishment of large-scale regularization programmes. However, national capacities have been dangerously strained by the pandemic.
“The burden should not fall on countries in the region alone. The international community has the responsibility to support these efforts favouring regional stability,” said Stein. “A shortfall in funding would leave hundreds of thousands unprotected, with few options to rebuild a life in dignity.”
Canada will host the next International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on 17 June 2021, in collaboration with UNHCR and IOM, who are co-leading the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). The event will bring together host and donor governments and key actors involved in the response, including the private sector, development banks and civil society.
The International Donors’ Conference is scheduled to run from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CEST Geneva (9:00 a.m to 12:30 p.m. in Canada; 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. GMT+5 in Panama) on 17 June. The event will be live streamed here.
Note to editors:
- Media representatives who wish to participate in the closing press conference must register in advance here.
- More information on the R4V Platform the 2021 response plan is available on: R4V.info.
- Last year, the RMRP appealed for US$ 1.41 billion to meet the needs of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their host communities in 17 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. At the end of 2020, this appeal was just 47.1% funded.
- The commitments made by donors during the 2020 International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, convened by the European Union (EU) and Spain, amounted to US$2.79 billion, including US$653 million in grants.
For more information, please contact:
- William Spindler, UNHCR, email@example.com
- Olga Sarrado, UNHCR, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Daniela Rovina, IOM, email@example.com
- Bryan Brennan, IOM, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melanie Gallant, UNHCR, email@example.com
Originally published by UNHCR on 15 June 2021.