IOM, UNHCR, Partners Seek US$1.59 bn for Refugees, Migrants from Venezuela

Yelitza is Venezuelan and works at the Identification and Documentation Post at the Pacaraima border, storing the luggage of other refugees and migrants waiting to formalize their entry to Brazil. Photo: R4V / Valmik Mota

The Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), co-led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), announced partners will need at least USD 1.59 billion to support three million refugees and migrants from Venezuela and their host communities in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2024.

In response to the ongoing outflows from Venezuela, governments and communities across the region continue to provide opportunities for refugees and migrants to settle and rebuild their lives through migratory regularization initiatives, access to asylum procedures, labour insertion programs, and family reunification opportunities. Over 60 per cent of the people who have left Venezuela have regularized their status.

In 2023, the Response Plan provided humanitarian assistance and protection and implemented socio-economic integration programs for more than 2 million refugees and migrants and members of affected host communities, complementing efforts by host countries or working under regional intergovernmental mechanisms – such as the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and the Quito Process. This has been made possible by partnerships with development banks, financial institutions and international organizations.

However, 4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the region still have pressing humanitarian, protection and integration needs, according to the R4V´s Regional Refugee and Migrant Needs Analysis (RMNA) 2023. The assessment also revealed that one in three Venezuelans in the region do not have a regular status or the necessary documentation to access decent jobs, health care services, housing or education.

The funds will support access to asylum procedures, migratory regularization activities and socio-economic integration, so that refugees, migrants and host communities can achieve stability and a brighter future.

“Countries in the region have done an excellent job welcoming refugees and migrants,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. “They must continue implementing and improving access to asylum procedures, migratory regularization, and documentation initiatives, but their capacities are stretched thin.”

“A significant, predictable and long-term financial effort is needed to ensure Venezuelans’ access to services, formal employment, health, and education, to effectively integrate and contribute to countries hosting them”.

Hundreds of thousands of people have moved towards Central and North America, crossing Panama’s Darien Jungle, often exposed to severe dangers. These risks are especially serious for women and families with young children. Some return movements have also been observed, including removals and deportations of Venezuelans to their country of origin.

One year after the launch of this biannual response plan, just 20 per cent of the required funds have been received, severely limiting assistance. Amidst multiple crises, the international community must not forget the situation of millions of refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean,

There are over 7.7 million Venezuelans outside their country. More than 6.5 million reside in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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