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Recommendations to Improve the Situation of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees within the Context of COVID-19 (June 2020)

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OAS General Secretariat and Venezuelan Civil Society Present Proposals to Improve the Situation of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees during the COVID-19 Crisis

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), in conjunction with Venezuelan civil society organizations established in the Americas and the Caribbean, today published the document “Recommendations to Improve the Situation of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees in the Context of COVID-19.” This document is the result of 13 meetings held between the Office of the General Secretariat for the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees and the Coalition for Venezuela, made up of 63 civil society organizations that provide assistance to Venezuelans in 23 countries in the region.

The document is available here in Spanish and here in English.

"The situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees represents one of the greatest challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, given that it has increased the difficulty in fully exercising their rights, such as: access to health, education, the right to life, to housing, to food, to work and the safeguarding of livelihoods,” the document states in the introduction.

The document acknowledges the effort made by the member States of the Organization, as well as the efforts of organized civil society, considering that the resources assigned by the international community have been insufficient to “overcome difficulties and implement suitable care policies that allow the Venezuelan migrant population to integrate in a stable and secure way into the social and economic dynamics of the host countries.”

In this sense, the document is published with the aim of helping member States reach common and pertinent solutions that improve the conditions of Venezuelans in their respective host countries through the necessary collaboration with different sectors of society. In line with this purpose, recommendations and proposals are indicated in the following areas:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Livelihoods
  • Protection
  • Food safety
  • Living place

The document issues 9 recommendations in the area of health, 5 related to education, 9 with livelihoods, 6 in relation to food security, another 6 related to the need for protection and 4 in the area of housing, all focused on improving the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.

On the other hand, the document points out the multiple benefits of the implementation of the proposals for the recipient countries, such as better economic development, the decrease in violence and the strengthening of the health system to respond to the pandemic emergency.

The mission of the OAS General Secretariat Office to address the crisis of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, coordinated by David Smolansky, is to work with OAS member countries to address the situation of more than 5.2 million Venezuelans who have been banished. Since the publication of its regional report in June 2019, the Office has expressed the need to create the basis for a regional consensus that grants Venezuelans refugee status and guarantees them permanent protection.

Coalition for Venezuela is the union of Venezuelan civil society organizations that focuses on the well-being of all Venezuelans and the peoples that receive them as migrants or refugees, without distinction. It is an independent initiative currently made up of 63 organizations present in 23 countries in the region that work in the defense and promotion of human rights, freedoms and democratic values.

Reference: E-080/20