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Asylum applications by Venezuelans soar to over 400,000

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Asylum applications by Venezuelans soar to over 400,000

8 March 2019
Colombia. A mother with her child crosses the Simon Bolivar Bridge, one of 7 legal entry points on the Colombia-Venezuela border
A Venezuelan mother and child cross the Simon Bolivar Bridge to Cúcuta, Colombia, January 2019.

Geneva, 8 March – As a result of the situation in Venezuela, the number of asylum applications by Venezuelan citizens worldwide has increased exponentially, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, announced today. Since 2014, over 414,000 asylum claims have been lodged by Venezuelans worldwide, nearly 60 percent of them (248,000), during 2018 alone.  

Two thirds of asylum applications by Venezuelans were registered in Latin America and the rest in North America and some European countries.

These figures are provided by national authorities, which are responsible for assessing asylum applications in all countries in the region, and for all issues related to refugee protection and local integration.

UNHCR works closely with national institutions to enhance asylum systems, including registration and documentation, as well as with civil society organizations to provide humanitarian assistance and promote the social, cultural and economic inclusion of refugees.

In the current context of increasing asylum applications by Venezuelan citizens in neighbouring countries, including former security forces personnel, UNHCR reiterates the need to maintain the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum.

The number of asylum applications represents only one part of the total outflow of Venezuelans, which is estimated at over 3.4 million people. In addition to asylum seekers, Latin American countries have granted some 1.3 million residence permits and other forms of regular status to Venezuelans, which allow them access to basic services, including health and education and, in most countries, the right to work.

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