Bolivia + 3 more

Special Situation Report - Bolivia, Chile & Peru, March Update

Attachments

CURRENT SITUATION

APPROX. 150 VENEZUELANS LEFT PUNO FOR CHILE VIA DESAGUADERO IN A SINGLE DAY
on 22 February, a decrease of more than 50 percent from the week prior, according to R4V partners conducting border monitoring.

186 VENEZUELANS WERE IN TACNA WAITING TO CROSS TO CHILE ON 24 FEBRUARY
according to a one-day monitoring exercise by an R4V partner

200 TO 300 VENEZUELANS WERE IN TRANSIT DAILY FROM PISIGA TO CHILE
in the latter half of February, according to R4V partners’ monitoring missions from 16-17 February.

APPROX. 164 VENEZUELANS ARRIVED EVERY DAY AT THE COLCHANE TRANSITORY CENTRE
from 21-27 February (total entries that week 1,149) according to R4V partners’ monitoring.

CURRENT SITUATION

In update to the context reported in the R4V Special Situation Report on Bolivia, Chile and Peru published on 18 February, following confusion around the 12 February implementation of the new measures contained in the Chilean Migration Law and antimigration protests, the Government of Chile declared a “state of exception” and deployed the military to four provinces in the north of the country beginning on 16 February to support the police in the response to irregular migration and prevent the entry of refugees and migrants through irregular border crossings. A reported 672 Chilean military and 100 police officials established periodic checkpoints along the borders with both Bolivia and Peru, with vehicles regularly patrolling in between those points, so as to identify, intercept, detain and return refugees and migrants attempting to cross irregularly. The new President of Chile, inaugurated on 11 March, announced that he would extend the “state of exception” and also seek regional dialogue with other countries receiving refugees and migrants from Venezuela to potentially establish a “quota system” for entries.

According to R4V Partners, despite the application of the procedures known as “redirection” under the new Chilean Migration Law, and the difficult weather and terrain along these routes, refugees and migrants continue to arrive and attempt to enter Chile irregularly from Bolivia and Peru, many in dire economic circumstances with little capacity to meet their basic needs. Inter-agency monitoring missions carried out by multiple R4V partners during the latter half of February observed between 200 to 300 refugees and migrants crossing Bolivia at Pisiga daily en route to enter Chile, the vast majority Venezuelans, comprised of approximately 65 per cent women and 10 per cent children under the age of 10. On 16 February, a group of nearly 200 people were stopped from entering into Colchane from Bolivia, according to the Chilean National Police (Carabineros). Also according to R4V partners, at the border between Bolivia and Chile between 21-27 February, 1,149 refugees and migrants entered the Colchane Transitory Centre in Chile (25 per cent children and adolescents) while 1,131 refugees and migrants left the centre for destinations further south in Chile.

Meanwhile in Peru, according to R4V partners’ monitoring exercises and observations at bus terminals and in the border area around Tacna, a gradual increase of refugees and migrants from Venezuela was noted: the observed total population per day grew from 56 people (21 Feb), to 136 (22 Feb), 130 (23 Feb) and then 186 (24 Feb), hinting at the beginning of a situation of stagnation of refugees and migrants facing difficulties for onward travel to Chile.
Many of the Venezuelans surveyed by R4V partners in Peru had already attempted to cross to Chile and were detained and returned by the authorities, some up to three times previously, although the vast majority expressed the intention to continue to Chile once again, including via Puno to cross to Desaguadero in Bolivia, as an alternative to crossing the border in Tacna. For example, on 22 February, the police in Peru intercepted 80 persons (including pregnant women) trying to enter Chile from Tacna in Peru. An R4V partner’s border monitoring exercise in Puno on 22 February registered 156 Venezuelans who attempted to leave Peru for Chile in a single day, representing a decrease of more than 50 per cent from the daily departure numbers recorded the previous week.