The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), together with Venezuelan civil society organizations established in the Americas and the Caribbean published this Thursday the document “Proposals to improve the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the framework of the COVID-19.”
The report is the result of thirteen meetings held between the Office of the General Secretariat for the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees and the Coalition for Venezuela, made up of 63 civil society organizations that provide assistance to Venezuelans in 23 countries of the region.
“The situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees represents one of the greatest challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, since it has made it increasingly difficult for them to fully exercise their rights, such as: access to health, education, the right to life, housing, food, work and the safeguarding of their livelihoods,” the document states in the introduction.
The institution recognized the efforts made by the Organization’s member states, as well as the performance of organized civil society, considering that the resources allocated by the international community have been insufficient to “overcome the difficulties and implement appropriate care policies that allow the Venezuelan migrant population to integrate in a stable and secure manner into the social and economic dynamics of the host countries.”
The OAS explained that the document was published with the aim of helping member states to reach common and relevant solutions that would improve the conditions of Venezuelans in their respective host countries through the necessary collaboration with the different sectors of society. In line with that purpose, recommendations and proposals are made in the following areas:
The document issued nine recommendations in the area of health, five related to education, nine to employment or other livelihoods, six in relation to food security, another six regarding the need for protection and four in the area of housing, all focused on improving the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.
The document also pointed out the multiple benefits of the implementation of the proposals for the recipient countries, such as improved economic development, reduction of violence and strengthening of the health system to deal with the emergency of the pandemic.
The Office of the OAS General Secretariat to Address the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees, coordinated by David Smolansky, is tasked with working with OAS member countries to address the situation of the more than 5.2 million Venezuelans who live in exile.
Since the publication of its regional report in June 2019, the Office has expressed the need to create the basis for a regional consensus that would grant Venezuelans refugee status and guarantee them permanent protection.
The Coalition for Venezuela is the union of Venezuelan civil society organizations that seeks the well-being of all Venezuelans and the peoples who receive them as migrants or refugees, without distinction. It is an independent initiative currently made up of 63 organizations present in 23 countries in the region that work to defend and promote human rights, freedoms and democratic values.