During the reporting period, COVID-19 cases rose sharply in several countries in Central and South America, despite significant progress in vaccination campaigns, which led governments to reinstate or implement new movement restrictions. In this context, R4V partners worked to ensure inclusion of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in national vaccination plans, including, in some cases, by directly providing the vaccine and/or by engaging in information campaigns and efforts to counter misinformation associated with the vaccine.
Growing militarization of borders in the region, continued closures of formal border crossings, and deportations from Chile and countries in the Caribbean prompted the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to release a statement calling on states in the Americas to adopt migration and border management policies that incorporate a human rights approach, while the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants released a statement calling for an end to collective expulsions. UNHCR and IOM also released a statement on the need for safe pathways for refugees and migrants after a shipwreck in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, the Government of Colombia began the implementation of its Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Venezuelans in the country. In May, the country saw a 42% decrease in inflows from Venezuela, coinciding with reports of social unrest in the country. In parallel, outflows from Venezuela towards Brazil notably increased (by 72% from April to May). In June, Colombia opened its borders with Venezuela, yet total numbers of arrivals from Venezuela remained stable. Meanwhile, harsh winter conditions in the Southern Cone posed increasing health risks for those in transit.
On 17 June, the Government of Canada hosted the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. The Conference was preceded by nine thematic side events, organized by the Regional Sectors of the R4V Platform, to raise awareness on the needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the corresponding areas of the R4V response. Some 36 donors (including seven new ones) made pledges, noting the central role of the R4V Platform in coordinating the response across the 17 RMRP countries, as well as the role of the Quito Process as a forum for affected governments to share good practices in responding to the evolving situation.