Denmark provides support to Venezuelan refugees and migrants

The recent contribution of USD 1.6 million (DKK 10 million) released from Denmark’s Emergency Reserve Fund will strengthen protection activities for Venezuelans refugees and migrants.

Brazil. Venezuelans are relocated to the Jardim Floresta shelter © UNHCR/Reynesson Damasceno

UNHCR is stepping up its response to Venezuelans compelled to leave their country due to the challenging political, human rights and socio-economic situation, and to seek asylum in the region and beyond. The recent contribution of USD 1.6 million (DKK 10 million) released from Denmark’s Emergency Reserve Fund will strengthen protection activities for Venezuelans refugees and migrants.

A country that has traditionally been a generous host of refugees, Venezuela is now experiencing an increasing exodus of people, many of them with international refugee protection needs. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have left their homeland for reasons including widespread food and medicine shortages, insecurity and limited access to essential social services. UNHCR has strengthened its presence throughout the region and is supporting countries to improve reception conditions, registration, temporary shelter options and coordinated provision of information and assistance to meet Venezuelans’ immediate basic needs.

Since 2014, there has been a 3,300 per cent increase in the number of Venezuelan nationals seeking refugee status, with Peru receiving the largest number of asylum claims. The vast majority of Venezuelans living in exile have no regular status, making them vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and discrimination. The Venezuela Situation response covers so far Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Southern Caribbean and Venezuela, where UNHCR is working with concerned Governments to elaborate, develop and enhance asylum and refugee management systems, combat protection risks, meet basic needs and foster opportunities for solutions.

“The funding UNHCR receives from the Government of Denmark is crucial for UNHCR to act efficiently and fast to respond to the needs of those compelled to leave their homes. Many are still in an irregular situation and face serious sexual and gender-based violence risks, in particular survival sex and trafficking. Denmark’s support to the Venezuelan influx is instrumental to boost efforts aimed at addressing these urgent protection concerns,” says Henrik Nordentoft, the Regional Representative for the Northern Europe.

Peru. Venezuelans receive a warm Peruvian welcome in Tumbes. ©UNHCR/Sebastian Castañeda


Among the more than 300.000 Venezuelan nationals who have travelled to Peru seeking protection, Gerardo, Desiré and their son received non-food items by UNHCR and partner organisation ‘Encuentros’, upon their arrival.

During the long journey from Venezuela, the family of three ran out of money and food and depended on the kindness of strangers to make it through Ecuador into Peru. They now live in a small rented room in Tumbes, northern Peru. UNHCR and ‘Encuentros’ have supported the family with new mattress and kitchenette. The Peruvians have wonderfully stretched out their hand to us,” they say. Determined to embark on a new beginning, the couple work every day without rest whilst also looking after the needs of their son.

Denmark as a donor to UNHCR

Denmark has long ranked among UNHCR’s top-5 donors, and was in 2017 UNHCR’s 4th largest donor per capita with USD 58.4 (DKK 381.5 million) in total funding.

Emergency Reserve Fund

Denmark contributes with an Emergency Reserve Fund of USD 7.2 million (DKK 50.5 million) at the start of every year, which UNHCR allocates to where the needs are most urgent. This flexibility allows UNHCR to quickly respond to emergencies, which saves lives and assists displaced people with critical protection needs and acute basic necessities. The fund is also of vital importance to support so-called “forgotten” refugee crises, which are critically underfunded, as they attract limited or no public attention.

In addition to the recent allocation to the Venezuela Situation, there has so far in 2018 been one allocation from the emergency reserve, of USD 1.6 million (DKK 10 million) to the Congolese Situation.

Unearmarked funding

In addition to the Emergency Reserve Fund, Denmark’s other flexible support includes USD 23.6 million (DKK 160 million) in annual unearmarked core funding.