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Regional Survey on Evictions of Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela: Analysis of the main impacts and needs

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1. Recommendations

For government authorities at local, departmental, and national levels

1.1.1 Adopt all administrative and legislative measures necessary to guarantee decent housing conditions for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, facilitating their access to existing state services for access to housing or special subsidy areas adapted to their socioeconomic situation.

1.1.2 Update or adapt domestic legal frameworks to include and recognize the rights of the refugee and migrant population to have access to adequate housing. To improve their access to state housing services, governments should promote the regularization of the migratory status of refugees and migrants and the supply of housing and temporary accommodation should not be limited by their migratory status.

1.1.3 Programs for access to adequate housing, temporary housing or shelters for refugees and migrants from Venezuela must take into account specific needs and prioritization mechanisms for: children and adolescents; female heads of household, pregnant and nursing mothers; the elderly; people living with disabilities and people undergoing medical treatment; as well as the cultural adaptation of housing or shelters to the particularities of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.

1.1.4 In the case of refugees and migrants from Venezuela who are tenants, and are at risk of eviction, their access to temporary subsidies for the payment of rent and/or utilities should be considered as measures to avoid evictions and so that they are not left in a street situation or in a situation that makes them more vulnerable or puts them at-risk in the places where they live.

1.1.5 In informal settlements inhabited by refugees and migrants from Venezuela, local authorities must ensure that their human rights are respected and that the migratory status, lack of documents or regularization of their migratory status is not a factor that puts them at increased risk of eviction, generates pressure or intimidation. Refugees and migrants from Venezuela should be part of the census and characterization processes and their special needs should be considered in the relocation or local integration processes or plans that are implemented in the settlements they inhabit.

1.1.6 Local authorities should establish protocols for consultations with the families or communities of refugees and migrants from Venezuela that are planned to be evicted in informal settlements or occupations. These protocols should guarantee international standards in accordance with the obligations assumed by each State, primarily those derived from membership of the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights. These protocols should specifically focus on the prohibition of forced evictions and the proportional use of public force and its adherence to human rights standards during evictions, including the principle of family unity.

1.1.7 In the case of tenants, special guidance and counseling services should be provided so that refugees and migrants from Venezuela can present their cases to local authorities and avoid expulsions in cases where the legal procedures of each country are not complied with by tenants or homeowners.

1.1.8 Ensure that local authorities are aware of and enforce the prohibition of forced evictions as a guarantee of adequate housing that Venezuelan refugees and migrants are entitled to, regardless of the tenure status of the housing or land they inhabit. This can be achieved by providing training to judicial and administrative public officials and police who are responsible for processes in which evictions and other orders from public authorities to evict housing or land are requested1 .

1.1.9 In the case of planned evictions in the territories of indigenous or black communities where refugees and migrants from Venezuela are settled, it must be guaranteed at all times that ethnic authorities can exercise their powers of governance and control over their territories based on ILO Convention 169 and specifically their right to be consulted.

1.1.10 Implement the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing on the prohibition of evictions during the COVID-19 health crisis at a local level2 .

1.1.11 Guarantee the presence of local, state, or federal civil authorities and oversight agencies during evictions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela with officials who are aware of the rights of this population and referral mechanisms for people with specific needs.

1.1.12 Provide shelters and the necessary assistance for refugees and migrants from Venezuela who may become homeless or for those who temporarily need to wait for relocation or temporary housing.
These shelters should be able to attend to people with specific needs3 .

1.1.13 In the provision of assistance to cases of eviction risks or evictions, public entities must be able to identify and attend to people with specific needs, especially those who based on differential approaches suffer double or multiple affectations4 . The authorities must establish prioritization criteria to serve the population in accordance with their needs and levels of vulnerability, supporting them to access existing specialized services.

1.1.14 It is recommended that local authorities establish a mechanism for the protection of the property of evicted refugees and migrants, such as furniture, household appliances, personal items, pets and other belongings through the possibility of arranging for their storage and safekeeping while a medium or long-term solution is offered to the evicted persons.