Contribution to UNHCR`s Activities in Colombia in the Context of the Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) 2020 for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela
UNHCR’s overall strategic objective under the Venezuela Situation response in Colombia is to ensure protection and life-saving humanitarian assistance as well as promote peaceful coexistence and community integration among Venezuelan refugees and migrants, their host communities as well as Colombian returnees from Venezuela. In addition, UNHCR works to build the capacity of the Colombian government in ensuring an effective response in terms of protection and durable solutions for persons of concern to UNHCR.
Under its planned response for 2020, UNHCR will:
- Provide temporary shelter to over 87,000 individuals;
- Provide assistance with registration and documentation to over 200,000 individuals (including Colombian returnees);
- Provide legal assistance to an estimated 35,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants arriving from Venezuela (including Colombian returnees);
- 27,000 Venezuelans and members of the host community will participate in projects promoting peaceful coexistence.
Austria's contribution of EUR 1,000,000 could help at least 19,200 Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as Colombian returnees and host community members, of which
- 6,200 individuals will be provided with shelter via the Integrated Assistance Centre (CAI in Spanish) in Maicao, La Guajira Department and 1,500 will be provided with shelter through the shelter network;
- 500 individuals will receive cash assistance;
- 2,000 will benefit from protection monitoring;
- 5,000 will benefit from registration;
- 3,000 will benefit from activities related to the anti-xenophobia campaign;
- 1,000 Venezuelan and host community children will benefit from education and child protection activities.
Main partners include IOM, local organizations such as Corporación Opción Legal, Caritas Colombia (Secretariado Nacional de la Pastoral Social), as well as international NGOs such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, SOS Children's Villages Colombia, Action Against Hunger and the Danish Refugee Council.
Activities are being implemented in locations where refugees and migrants are concentrated, mainly along the border with Venezuela, the Atlantic Coast, Bogotá, Medellín and the southern border with Ecuador where a number of Venezuelans crossing into Colombia continue their path towards countries farther south.
• Support to shelter activities: to ensure adequate temporary shelter for the most vulnerable refugees and migrants, UNHCR will continue supporting the establishment and management of the Integrated Assistance Centre (CAI) in Maicao as well as support a country wide shelter network.
• Provision of humanitarian assistance: to ensure the most vulnerable households and individuals, including female headed households and persons with specific protection needs can safely meet their basic needs, UNHCR will provide humanitarian assistance through cash transfer.
• Support to protection activities: to ensure that information and protection is provided to Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as to Colombian returnees, UNHCR will continue and strengthen its monitoring and registration activities. It will also strengthen its education and child protection activities which will also benefit host communities.
• Promote social cohesion: UNHCR will continue and strengthen is efforts against discrimination and xenophobia through the Somos Panas Colombia campaign, thereby promoting social cohesion.
Due to their proximity and cultural ties, Colombia has been the country most impacted by the outflow to the region of over 4.8 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela. As of February 2020, more than 1.7 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants had settled in Colombia, while thousands continue to enter the country every day. Although many attempt to move on to other countries, the majority remain in Colombia. The imposition of visa requirements for Venezuelans to enter Peru (June 15, 2019) and Ecuador (August 26, 2019), as well as the number of prerequisites for obtaining a visa indicate that an increasing number of Venezuelans will be staying permanently in Colombia, with growing humanitarian and integration needs. The Colombian government has maintained an open-door policy regardless of visa requirements issued by other host countries. In addition, more than 800,000 Colombians formerly residing in Venezuela, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have returned home. Furthermore, there is a strong pendular population movement in the border areas, as tens of thousands of Venezuelans come on a daily basis to Colombia to buy food or seek assistance for their most urgent needs.
The Government of Colombia has maintained a policy of open borders and allowed Venezuelans to access basic services, at considerable cost to the central and local government institutions. UNHCR co-leads the Inter-Agency Group of Mixed Flows (GIFMM in Spanish) together with IOM, which is the coordination mechanisms for the operational response to the arrival of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees and host communities in Colombia.
UNHCR Colombia’s overarching strategy remains to provide protection services and humanitarian assistance, lead and coordinate response efforts to meet the most urgent needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees and host communities. To this purpose, UNHCR Colombia works closely with the Colombian government and local governments to help build their protection capacity, as well as national and international non-governmental organizations as its implementing partners.