To help integrate the millions of refugees leaving Venezuela, 14 Latin American and Carribean countries came together in Buenos Aires and adopted a new plan to address the influx of migrants.
On July 4-5, the countries along with United Nations agencies, regional organizations, development banks, and civilian representatives met at the IV International Technical Meeting of the Quito Process to adopt The Roadmap of the Buenos Aires Chapter to better equip countries struggling with the increase of Venezuelan migrants.
“The continuing exodus of Venezuelans surpasses and exceeds the capacities and resources of governments in the region. This implies an urgent challenge for the countries hosting them,” Eduardo Stein, joint International Organization for Migration and U.N. Refugee Agency special representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, said in a release on Monday.
La catástrofe que ha causado Maduro ????????
— José Miguel Vivanco (@JMVivancoHRW) June 8, 2019
By agreeing to the plan, governments have signed on to strengthen cooperation, communication and coordination between migrant-receiving countries. The declaration puts an emphasis on combating transnational crimes such as people smuggling and trafficking and offers protection for those experiencing sexual and gender-based violence as well as discrimination and xenophobia.
The influx of refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean also shows no signs of slowing down and could worsen in coming years, according to a recent report by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“OHCHR is concerned that if the situation does not improve, the unprecedented outflow of Venezuelan migrants and refugees will continue to grow, and conditions of those remaining will worsen,” claims the report.
One of the main drivers for migration from Venezuela is the lethal military crackdown on democracy. In 2018, military forces killed 5,287 people, claiming they “resisted authority” with other sources saying this number could be much higher, stated the OHCHR report.
“This is a life or death situation for millions. The number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants has risen to over 4 million." — @Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie speaking near the Colombia-Venezuela border. https://t.co/nVDj2feBoc pic.twitter.com/5vF7VEr9Vu
— United Nations (@UN) June 10, 2019
Additionally, the severe economic conditions in Venezuela, which has seen inflation skyrocket, has driven people out of the country. The report states that Venezuelans have been unable to fulfill their basic needs such as food and health, which has forced them to flee to neighboring countries.
To deal with the high numbers crossing into Latin American and the Caribbean, the Roadmap has also set up guidelines to establish centers for information, reception, advice, and assistance. These will help the countries build human capital through orientations and facilitate the integration of Venezuelans into their new countries.
The plan has gained approval from both the IOM and the UNHCR who welcomed its adoption and have called on the international community for funding to help receiving countries continue their work in health care, education, employment, and housing for migrants.