Dominican Rep. + 1 more

RMRP 2020 - Dominican Republic (January 2020)

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Strategic Response Priorities

  1. Enhance the prevention and mitigation of protection risks and respond to protection needs of Venezuelans.

  2. Strengthen advocacy with authorities to promote migratory solutions and facilitate regularization of Venezuelans.

  3. Provide and improve safe and dignified access to essential goods and critical services in synergy with sustainable development assistance.

  4. Improve and promote effective access to healthcare services and information resources related to health.

  5. Increase resilience and integration opportunities through interventions in the fields of livelihoods, financial inclusion and social cohesion.

  6. Strengthen outreach and communication with communities.

Situation

People continue to leave Venezuela to escape violence, insecurity and protection threats as well as lack of food, medicine and essential services. Since 2018, the number of Venezuelans entering the Dominican Republic has progressively increased, which has put a strain on the country’s reception capacities and public services. In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is the country hosting the highest number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

In December 2019, the Dominican Government introduced a visa requirement for Venezuelans, who previously were able to obtain a tourist stamp on arrival. With the new visa policy, Venezuelans wishing to enter the Dominican Republic are required to apply for a visa in the Dominican Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. This visa restriction will likely lead to an increase in irregular arrivals and make refugees and migrants, especially women and children, particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and smuggling.

Most refugees and migrants in the Dominican Republic do not have regular migration status due to lack of opportunities to regularize their situation. This leads to barriers in accessing the formal labor market, basic services, financial institutions and higher education. While Venezuelans are generally able to access primary health care through the public health system, access to specialized medical attention and psychosocial support remains a challenge due to financial barriers. Lack of access to the formal labor market has led some Venezuelans to resort to risky coping mechanisms, including survival sex, in order to meet their basic needs, exposing them to risks of exploitation and abuse.

In 2020, R4V partners will continue to strengthen interventions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and human trafficking, support access to livelihoods and healthcare, and promote migratory solutions. Additionally, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence interventions will be prioritized, with a view to including the host community in the Venezuelan response.