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Solidarity conference calls for action as Venezuelans depart in droves

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Solidarity conference calls for action as Venezuelans depart in droves

Joint Press Release by the European Union, UNHCR and IOM
23 October 2019
Colombia. Venezuelans risk life and limb to seek help in Colombia
Venezuelans pause for rest after crossing into Cúcuta, Colombia, April 2019.

Brussels, 23 October - The dramatic flight of millions of Venezuelans has resulted in one of the direst displacement crises in the world and the largest in the recent history of the region. Nearly 80 per cent of the approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans who left their country have remained in Latin America or the Caribbean.

Calling for urgent and concerted action for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the European Union, together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), are organising a high-level International Solidarity Conference next week on 28 and 29 October in Brussels.

The conference will be hosted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, IOM Director General António Vitorino and UNHCR/IOM Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants Eduardo Stein.  

Countries in the region continue to show solidarity towards Venezuelans, ensuring people can move freely, access social services and integrate into local economies and communities – but the capacity and resources of national authorities and host communities are reaching a breaking point. More international support is needed to support Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

"The European Union and its partners are renewing their commitment to the Venezuelan people. When 4.5 million people are on the move, action is needed and we will keep acting," said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. “This is a moment to call for even greater support for Venezuelan refugees, migrants and their host communities by the international community. We want to raise awareness about the gravity of this crisis, we want to confirm and increase international support for a regional and coordinated response. The EU is already the leading donor and key political player, providing €170 million since 2018 in support of the Venezuelan people.”

“Countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean who have welcomed millions of Venezuelans deserve and need our support,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. “The international community including donors, cooperation agencies and the private sector need to double down to ensure help arrives for the most vulnerable and those supporting them.”

Ministers and high-level officials from Latin America and the Caribbean and Members States of the European Union will attend together with UN agencies, international cooperation agencies, NGOs, private sector companies, civil society organizations and development actors including international financial institutions.

“This conference is a unique opportunity to bring together all the actors involved in the response,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “Together we are sending a strong message to Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their generous hosts in Latin America and the Caribbean, that the world has not forgotten them and that we will support them in their moment of need.”

The International Solidarity Conference – which brings together humanitarian and development actors, the private sector, civil society, international financial institutions, as well as host and donor governments – aims to raise awareness of the crisis, reaffirm global commitments to host countries and communities, assess best practices and achievements, confirm international support for a coordinated regional response and call for greater international technical and financial cooperation with the region.

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