Venezuela Situation Update, November 2017
The total number of Venezuelans in Colombia has more than doubled in less than four months, reaching 660,000 individuals, end-November, up from 300,000 in June.
Between January and October 2017 over 100.000 Venezuelan nationals have entered Peru through the northern entry point in Tumbes, according to authorities.
In Brazil 15,645 Venezuelans have lodged asylum claims in 2017, 1,680 Temporary Residence Permits have been granted and a total of 30,000 are estimated to live in the country.
POPULATION OF CONCERN
In November the movements from Venezuela to Colombia continued to grow, according to government figures that show net arrivals from Venezuelans reached 4,000 people per day (up from 3,500 in October), and 2,500 Colombian returnees per day. Colombian authorities also reported that some 200,000 have crossed into Ecuador.
Over 1 million Venezuelans have now registered for the Border Mobility Card (TMF) in Colombia.
In Peru 19,000 Venezuelans have applied for the Temporary Permanence Permit (PTP), Peruvian authorities estimate. Since August 4,000 PTPs have been issued out of that total.
At least 60,000 Venezuelans are estimated to be residing in the Southern Caribbean.
In Brazil some 15,000 of all Venezuelan asylum-claims have been lodged in Roraima border state since 2014, 2,500 in Amazonas state and some 590 in Sao Paulo.
Over one million Venezuelans have left their country, according to host Government figures. Over 106,000 have sought asylum since 2014, more than half in 2017. Some 190,000 have also applied for alternative legal status across the region. They claim they are leaving for a variety of reasons, including threats by armed groups; fear of being targeted on account of their political opinion, real or perceived; insecurity and violence; lack of food, medicine and access to essential social services, as well as loss of income.
UNHCR has also identified hundreds of indigenous people crossing the borders, primarily into Colombia and Brazil. These groups sometimes travel long distances by land and have shown to be highly vulnerable as they do not have the financial resources to buy food or shelter. Additional support has been provided to them.
While the dialogue between the Government and the opposition coalition has restarted in the Dominican Republic, people continue to steadily leave the country. The socio-economic situation increasingly deteriorates and inflation has made it extremely difficult to access food, medicine, basic products and services. Reports from international organizations state that there is a considerable number of people with chronic malnutrition in the country, as well as a shortage of medicine. As a result of the strained resources, insecurity has also been increasing and having a rising impact on peoples’ lives.
The Government of Roraima has declared a state of social emergency due to the “intense, unlimited and disorderly flow of Venezuelans without means or conditions to sustain themselves” that arrive from Venezuela. Local authorities have expressed concerns about their capacity to provide an adequate security and health response, as well as to implement the recent government resolution that establishes standard operation procedures for the protection of unaccompanied and separated children, based on the recommendations by UNHCR.
Among the reasons given by the Warao for leaving Venezuela, is that the government’s support to indigenous communities in the country has ceased. They claim that there are no available schools, health centres or services. Water distribution, usually their only source of potable water, has allegedly also stopped. The Warao also stated that they suffered discrimination in the access to ID- documents, which could help explain the considerable amount of Warao without identification arriving in Brazil.
The Warao continue to move inward, confirming their intent to stay. Over 200 Warao are living in Pará state. The majority is living on the streets, while some 70 people are staying in a rural school set up as a temporary shelter by the Municipality. Following UNHCR’s counsel, Amazonas and Pará authorities created a formal communication channel to exchange experiences and lessons learned.
Armed groups activities at the Colombian-Venezuela border, incursions by the Venezuelan military into Colombia, confrontations between governments and the lack of capacity to control the actions of armed actors on both sides of the border are increasing risks for persons of concern in these areas. UNHCR continues to monitor the reports of violence at the border.
In October, a pamphlet was distributed in Arauca by the “Araucan Social Cleansing Group”, accusing Venezuelan men of selling drugs to children and committing crimes and Venezuelan women of being prostitutes, and called for them to go back to Venezuela or face assassination.
Colombian authorities are concerned about the spread of diseases including malaria, measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis in reception areas. They state that due to a lack of health access in Venezuela, arrivals are boosting transmission rates. More than 19,000 Venezuelans have received emergency treatment in Colombia, increasing pressure on local services. The Government is working with the Red Cross and WHO/PAHO to increase services, and UNHCR is advocating to ensure a protection-sensitive approach.
The Special Stay Permit (PEP) application deadline expired on 31 October. Over 67,000 Venezuelans applied for the permit, which allows them to regularize their status, work and access basic services for up to two years in Colombia. UNHCR is advocating for this measure to be extended to ensure that legal pathways remain open, as is the case in other countries in the region.