Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela - Regional Response: Situational update No.1 (September 2018)

Based on the latest official data available as of September 2018, it is estimated that over 2.6 million Venezuelans live outside their country.

Over 186,800 asylum claims have been filed worldwide in 2018, surpassing the 2017-year end figure.
Peru has become the main country of asylum for Venezuelans.

IOM and UNHCR appointed Mr. Eduardo Stein as Joint Special Representative. Mr. Stein will be promoting a harmonized regional approach in coordination with governments and relevant actors.

This situation report series is produced by the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. These reports consolidate highlights in the operational response during the reporting period, as shared by the Platform’s members.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Available official government data indicates that as of September 2018, there are 2,648,000 Venezuelans living outside their country; more than 1.9 million of them have left since 2015. About 70% (1,848,000) are in South American countries.

Yet, the figure is likely to be higher as most data sources do not account for Venezuelans with irregular status. Venezuelans without a regular status in their host countries are particularly exposed to violence, discrimination, trafficking and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The number of Venezuelans seeking asylum has risen yearly. Between 2014 and 2018, some 346,500 asylum claims have been lodged, with Peru heading as the main country of asylum with 133,400 claims. Additionally, between 2015 and September 2018, more than 966,000 applications for temporary or permanent visas or other regularization mechanisms have been filed by Venezuelan nationals.

Latest profiling and tracking activities reveals a worrying increase of the vulnerability of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, affecting in particular children and women on the move. It calls for an increased and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection to prevent further risks.

The commitment to a regional coordinated response to the outflow of Venezuelans has gained momentum and triggered high level meetings in Bogota, Quito, Geneva, Washington and New York. Eleven countries that participated in the Quito meeting agreed to cooperate on key issues such as access to regular status and asylum, documentation, humanitarian assistance, data collection, fight against sexual and gender based violence, trafficking, xenophobia, while calling for further support from the international community. Other regional initiatives bringing together migration authorities, ombudspersons and NGOs have taken place in the past weeks aiming at collaborating, sharing practices, promoting the rights of Venezuelans in the region and facilitating their access to essential services.

In line with these efforts, UNHCR and IOM have appointed Mr. Eduardo Stein as Joint Special Representative. He will work to promote dialogue and consensus necessary for the humanitarian response, including access to territory, refugee protection, legal stay arrangements and the identification of solutions for Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Mr. Stein will work in tandem with the Regional Coordination Inter-Agency Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela which focuses on the operational side of the response.

At national level most governments of the impacted countries continue to develop and adapt their institutional response to provide emergency assistance and protection to Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as pave the way towards socio-economic and cultural integration. In Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, for example, national governments have declared the state of emergency in receiving areas and entry points allowing them to take extraordinary measures to address humanitarian needs and public health and security risks.

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