The Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), co-led by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is launching a US$1.72 billion regional plan to support the ongoing needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Years into this emergency, millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region still cannot afford three meals a day; do not have safe and decent housing; face hurdles in accessing medical care; and are unable to work to support themselves and their families.
The funds are aimed at responding to those humanitarian needs, complementing and supporting the efforts of host Governments – the primary responders – while also promoting socio-economic integration through access to employment, education and regularization opportunities, as well as social welfare programmes. This will provide the necessary financial stability and effective integration to allow Venezuelans to reach their full potential and contribute to the development of the countries that have generously welcomed them.
“Refugees and migrants from Venezuela cannot be forgotten. Many have seen their lives come to a standstill and millions are struggling to feed their families or find opportunities to rebuild their lives,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. “They are eager to contribute to their host communities with their knowledge, skills and creativity, and they have been doing so, but they need our support to overcome their most pressing challenges.”
More than 7 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela have left their country in search of safety and stability. The vast majority, nearly 6 million people, are living in 17 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Instability, difficulties in accessing basic services, xenophobia and discrimination, and lack of documentation have forced tens of thousands to continue embarking on dangerous journeys, including through the perilous Darien Gap or by crossing the high mountains between Bolivia and Chile.
“Regularization efforts by many countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have been a crucial gesture of solidarity for refugees and migrants from Venezuela,” Stein said. “However, the spiraling cost of living, resulting from the lingering impacts of COVID-19, as well as high unemployment and low wages have made it difficult for many refugees and migrants to rebuild their lives in their host communities.”
The worsening global economic backdrop, coupled with the prolonged nature of this emergency, have turned the world’s attention elsewhere. So far in 2022, just one-fourth of the required funds have been received, forcing life-saving programmes across the region to be scaled back and pushing many Venezuelans to the brink.
For the first time, the plan has a two-year-long scope, in a bid to strengthen the bridge between immediate attention to humanitarian and protection needs and medium- to long-term integration and development activities, in line with the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus.