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Access for refugees and migrants from Venezuela to COVID-19 Vaccines in RMRP countries

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Background

As noted in the 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP), the COVID-19 pandemic has been causing tremendous suffering for refugees, migrants and host communities alike, many of whom will likely grapple with the long-term damages of the pandemic for years to come. In many countries of the region, the situation is compounded by increasing poverty rates and growing food insecurity, as documented in numerous assessments conducted by National Platforms and their partners across the region and reflected in the different sectorial chapters of the RMRP 2021. There are currently more than 4,6 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela hosted in 17 countries of the region and the RMRP represents the geographically biggest emergency response plan in the world.

Since its establishment in 2018, the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform (also known as Response for Venezuelans, “R4V”) has acted as an inclusive and accountable forum that steers and monitors the operational response under the RMRP. Drawing on experiences from other mixed refugee-migrant situations around the world, and pursuant to the directions of the UN Secretary-General, it is convened by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and brings together the 159 appealing organizations of the RMRP, in addition to host governments and the donor community.

The Regional Platform covers interventions across 17 countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region and combines the responsibilities and expertise of United Nations (UN) agencies, international and national NGOs, civil society and faith-based organizations and the Red Cross Movement, to ensure robust humanitarian, protection and integration responses to the growing needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, as well as of affected host communities.

Building on the above, the Regional Platform is committed to advocate and engage with host governments for inclusive and equitable access for refugees and migrants to testing, tracing and treatment, to share information on responsible behaviours, including physical distancing, and to promote inclusion of refugees and migrants into national and local social welfare and protection mechanisms, as well as in vaccination programmes.