Since the beginning of the year, 1.7 million refugees and migrants and members of host communities were assisted with one or more services by R4V partners; this includes responding to urgent needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, the Regional Platform together with eight national and sub-regional Platforms and 151 partners launched the review of the Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) 2020, to include COVID-19-related needs and amend financial requirements (amounting to ca. 1.41 billion). In addition, on 26 May, an International Donors Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants was convened by the European Union and Spain, with the support of Canada, Norway, UNHCR and IOM, in order to mobilize support for refugees and migrants from Venezuela displaced in the region, including in the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, multiple donors committed to an overall total of USD 2.79 billion, including USD 653 million in grants, to benefit hosting governments as well as RMRP partners.
The return movements of thousands of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to their home country is of great concern to R4V partners. Since April 2020, due to the increasingly precarious situation of refugees and migrants, resulting primarily from their loss of livelihoods following measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it is estimated by government authorities that more than 83,000 have returned to Venezuela. This also comes as a result of many refugees and migrants not benefitting from national social protection and health programmes adopted in host countries. Without the means to sustain themselves, many have seen no option but to return to Venezuela. Aggravating the situation further, over the past three months, evictions have continued despite preventative measures that governments in the region have enacted. In this context, the Regional Platform and its partners convened a technical workshop on return movements, at which partners agreed that the priority focus of partners and donors shall remain on supporting the assistance to refugees and migrants in their host communities and thereby help avoid additional exposure of vulnerable individuals to health and protection risks associated with return movements.
In Brazil, as of 30 June, Brazil had 1,402,041 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and associated 59,594 deaths. Despite the rising number of cases in the country, most Brazilian states have announced a gradual reopening of non-essential services. The majority of COVID-19 cases are concentrated in the states São Paulo, Ceará and Rio de Janeiro. Entry restrictions for foreign nationals, including refugees and migrants from Venezuela, are extended until the end-July. Due to measures adopted by different federal states over the past months, some refugees and migrants from Venezuala experienced problems in obtaining or renewing documents such as the National Migration Registration Card and the Individual Taxpayer Registration Number (CPF). As a result of the restrictions, many were unable to access social benefits that could have helped them during the pandemic.