Dominican Rep. + 5 more

Caribbean Sub-Region Situation Report October - December 2019

Situation Report
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Caribbean Sub-Region Refugees & Migrants Response Plan: Summary Figures

35 Appealing partners

113K Venezuelan Refugees & Migrants

35M Financial Requirements

Venezuelans are seeking safety in the Caribbean due to serious threats to their life, security, freedom and other significant protection risks that they are facing in their country of origin. As of the end of 2019, 113,500 refugees and migrants from Venezuela are estimated to have arrived in Aruba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. This flow comprises both refugees and migrants from Venezuela as well as returning Guyanese.

Varying responses to the influx of refugees and migrants from Venezuela have been adopted by Caribbean countries, taking into consideration their geography, language, legal and socioeconomic background, limited size, and absorption capacity. Concerns about the growing number of refugees and migrants arriving in the Caribbean, coupled with the continuing deterioration of the situation in Venezuela, have led to pushbacks, including instances of non-admission and deportations without granting access to asylum procedures or protection screenings. The introduction of measures to restrict access to territory, including visa requirements and temporary closure of borders with Venezuela, has impacted the ability of refugees and migrants to regularly enter and stay in some Caribbean countries. These restrictions also increase the risk of exposure to trafficking, smuggling, exploitation and abuse, as Venezuelans seeking safety may resort to irregular means of entry and seek the means to pay back debts linked to increased travel costs and requirements.

As a response to the unprecedented movement of refugees and migrants into the Caribbean, 14 appealing partners in the region have come together to identify the priority needs for Venezuelans and host communities and coordinate interventions under the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) in 2019. Partners focused on four areas of intervention: direct emergency assistance, protection response, socio-economic and cultural inclusion, and strengthening the capacity of host governments to respond to the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

Throughout the year, partners provided direct emergency assistance to people in need and worked with Governments in the region to strengthen their reception capacity and availability of services. In 2019, over 12,562 Venezuelans and vulnerable members of host communities were targeted by direct emergency assistance interventions and were able to meet their immediate needs. To inform the protection response, partners continued to carry out protection monitoring in order to identify and refer persons with specific needs to access services, while providing counselling to those who wish to regularize their stay or seek asylum in the concerned countries. More than 22,208 of the most vulnerable refugees and migrants from Venezuela benefited from coordinated protection activities in 2019.

Through a variety of social cohesion and livelihoods activities, partners promoted the socio-economic inclusion of refugees and migrants in order to increase their self-reliance and foster social cohesion with the receiving communities. Integration activities reached 23,642 people during the year from both Venezuelan and host communities. Partners also worked closely with host governments to strengthen local capacitiesin the areas of education, social protection, health, shelter, support and advocate for the development of national asylum systems, registration, and protection-sensitive border management. As a result, 471 officials participated in training and other capacity-building initiatives.

Through a variety of social cohesion and livelihoods activities, partners promoted the socio-economic inclusion of refugees and migrants in order to increase their self-reliance and foster social cohesion with the receiving communities.

Although the needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela remained high, funding received remained low during the year: only 24% of the RMRP budgetary requirements were reached in the Caribbean. This has significantly impacted the ability of partners to deliver on the planned response. In addition, the magnitude of needs resulting from the continuous arrivals of Venezuelans has increasingly placed pressure on the reception capacity and public services of host countries, particularly stressing already vulnerable host communities. In view of these challenges, in 2020, partners will increase donor engagement, build up the reception capacity of host governments, and continue addressing the prioritized needs of both Venezuelans and host communities through multi-sectoral interventions.