Washington D.C., September 24th 2018.- Over 50 civil society organizations from across the region met on September 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C. to outline specific commitments required by States to provide national and international protections to those forced to leave Venezuela due to the country´s current economic, social and political upheavals.
“We met as members of regional civil society with the objective of developing a plan of action that will contribute to the effective guarantee and enjoyment of human rights of people who are obligated to leave Venezuela and require national and international protection,” stated Francisco Quintana, Working Group Coordinator and Program Director for the Andean Region, the Caribbean, and North America for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
According to data from the United Nations, over 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past few years, making this the fastest growing migration flow in the region.
Throughout the meeting, the group recognized that the massive exodus of people from Venezuela made its citizens migrants, with thousands eligible for refugee or asylum status. However, if certain criteria were not met, many could potentially find themselves at risk of Statelessness.
“We recognize that many States across the continent have attempted to provide quick responses to address the needs of Venezuelans who require national and international protections. However, these responses are sometimes insufficient and restrictive given the magnitude of the phenomenon. Moreover, many of these responses don´t utilize a human rights focus,” said Lígia Bolívar, member of the group and Senior Investigator for the Center for Human Rights for the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Venezuela
The Group, convened to address the specific issue of Human Mobility, also proposed the creation of a regional and coordinated response involving the participation of States, international mechanisms, civil society, Ombudsman's Offices, and members of the migrant and refugee population from Venezuela.
“It is urgent that we come up with a response that is grounded in pre-existing international and regional frameworks like the 1984 Declaration of Cartagena on Refugees. Our solidarity must be reflected in the recognition, guarantee and protection of rights of all, particularly all those affected in differentiated ways, like children, youth, women, LGBTI groups, the elderly and disabled persons, indigenous and afro-descendant groups, and other groups who find themselves at risk,” stated Luís Carlos Rodríguez, member of the Group and Advocacy Officer for the Jesuit Refugee Service for Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information, visit the website on Human Mobility: www.movhuve.org
You can download a pdf of the declaration in PDF form here (spanish only. English available soon): https://www.cejil.org/sites/default/files/final_2018_09_19_mhv_declaracion_firmas_adhesiones_0.pdf