Strategic Response Priorities
The response in Colombia has three main strategic objectives, complementing and coordinating with the State’s response:
Provide and improve effective access to critical goods and services, including strengthening the State’s response capacity at the national and local level.
Increase integration opportunities for the refugee and migrant population, including access to dignified employment, productive resources, and livelihoods.
Strengthen the prevention and mitigation of protection risks, access to basic services, and provide a response to protection needs.
The activities respond to humanitarian, protection, and integration needs for refugees and migrants with intent to stay, in transit and engaged in pendular movements, Colombian returnees, and host communities in most-affected areas of the country, especially in border and urban areas.
In 2019, Colombia continued to be the country most impacted by the arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, concentrating the largest portion of people with intent to stay (1.4 M), 676,093 of them with a regular status, and in transit (nearly 500,000 persons) and pendular movements in the region (about 4.2 M of TMF issued).
Additionally, more than half a million Colombians returned from Venezuela by mid- 2019.
Colombia has commendably maintained an open-door policy and has undertaken several key documentation and registration exercises for Venezuelan nationals. Colombia also considerably expanded access to employment and basic services, in particular education and health, and addressed statelessness risks by granting new-borns of Venezuelan parents Colombian citizenship.
The impact of the arrival and transit of millions of individuals has been considerable, particularly in a country which has historically had low numbers of refugees and migrants.
In parallel, the presence and actions of illegal armed groups, especially in border and rural areas, coupled with migratory restrictions in bordering states, continue to expose Venezuelans without regular status in Colombia or in transit, to significant risks of trafficking/ smuggling as well as exploitation and abuse.