Barranquilla, Colombia, June 17, 2021 – As donors meet in Canada today for the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, the Coalition for Venezuela (Coalición por Venezuela), has repeated its call for the meaningful participation of refugees and migrants in the response to this crisis, and for a significant increase in funding.
The Coalition for Venezuela’s general coordinator, Juan Carlos Viloria Doria, who will attend today’s conference, stressed that Venezuelan refugee and migrant-led civil society organizations must play a role in the design of the regional response. He reiterated the need for a substantial increase in funding for this crisis.
“The meaningful participation of refugees and migrants is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” Viloria said. “When refugees and migrants are involved in designing and implementing policies to respond to migration crises, the solutions are more effective and sustainable.”
The Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis is severely underfunded. Based on recent research from the US-based Brookings Institute, the Syrian crisis, where, as of the end of 2020, over 6.6 million people had been forced to flee, has received over $20billion in funding. In stark contrast, the Venezuelan crisis which as of this month has forced 5.6 million Venezuelans to flee their country, has received a mere $1.4billion.
“This level of funding is not close to adequate,” Viloria said. “This lack of funding is both short-sighted and reckless, and squanders the opportunities presented by Venezuelans in their new communities. We need to recognize the potential refugees and migrants bring in terms of economic growth and development.”
Since 2015, over 5.6 million refugees and migrants have been forced to flee Venezuela. The majority of these people are being hosted in neighboring countries, with Colombia, Chile, and Peru hosting most of them. While some countries in Latin America have offered temporary status to these refugees, the overall response has been hampered by a lack of funding for the most basic of needs i.e. shelter, food, protection, and access to education.
“Venezuelan refugees and migrants have a lot to offer their host communities,” Viloria said. “We are professionals, students, artists and athletes. Imagine the possibilities if the international community were to step up and fund job development, education, skills-building, business start-up for us. The opportunities for host communities would be limitless.”
The Coalition for Venezuelans brings together Venezuelan refugees and diaspora from around the world to advocate for Venezuelan refugees. With a current membership of 65 civil society organizations, spanning the globe, the Coalition works with governments and international bodies to address the humanitarian emergency both within and outside Venezuela’s borders.
To find out more about the Coalition, please visit: www. https://coalicionporvenezuela.org/