The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern over the death of at least two Venezuelans after a shipwreck off the Venezuelan coast last Thursday.
“The waters of the Caribbean Sea continue to claim the lives of Venezuelans,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. “As conditions in the country continue to deteriorate, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Venezuelan people continue to undertake life-threatening journeys,” he said.
Stein assured that immediate and concerted international action is necessary to find pragmatic solutions that put saving lives and the protection of human rights at the forefront of the response.
“The establishment of regular and safe routes, through humanitarian visas and family reunification, as well as the implementation of access systems sensitive to protection and adequate reception mechanisms, can avoid the use of irregular routes, human smugling and trafficking,” he said.
UNHCR and IOM reiterated their willingness to provide support and technical expertise to explore practical solutions that provide regular and sustainable pathways, taking into account COVID-19 containment measures.
“UNHCR and IOM, as co-leaders of the Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants of Venezuela (R4V), work with at least 24 other partners and governments throughout the Caribbean to meet the needs of refugees and migrants in the subregion,” he stated.
Last Thursday, at least 24 people, including minors, were shipwrecked on a boat heading to Trinidad and Tobago from Delta Amacuro State. It was known that seven people were rescued by Venezuelan commercial vessels and three bodies have been recovered from the sea.