Operation: Opération: Venezuela



By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2017 year-end results
2,420 asylum-seekers received information on government RSD procedures
1,850 border guards and government officials were trained on International Refugee Law
750 people of concern with specific needs were counselled on referral pathways and supported with material assistance
240 people of concern were referred to secondary and tertiary medical care
200 people of concern used existing government complaint mechanisms to claim their rights
120 Colombian people of concern were provided with safe and dignified return transportation
2018 planning figures
6,000 people with international protection needs will be identified and channeled to the asylum procedure or alternative migratory pathways
5,000 people with specific needs will be counselled, assessed and channeled to the appropriate services,  including legal assistance for 1,000 persons
2,000 police and border officials trained on international refugee law and the national legal framework
100 mixed community-based interventions will be implemented in prioritized communities in urban and rural areas
3 bi-national protection networks, with Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, will be supported

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 123,714
2016 172,957
2015 173,989


[["Refugees",7876],["Refugee-like situation",114934],["Asylum-seekers",904]]
Loading ...


< Back
2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[9.97481119,10.93663268,10.750133689,9.13229275,8.667207092,16.7053182],"expenditure":[3.82917366,4.09154711,4.36000157,3.96985401,4.07432946,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[9.97481119,10.93663268,10.750133689,9.13229275,8.667207092,16.7053182],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[3.82917366,4.09154711,4.36000157,3.96985401,4.07432946,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
Loading ...

  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

Political and social instability together with hyperinflation affected the regular implementation of UNHCR’s activities in Venezuela in 2017, with field missions cancelled and activities postponed due to security reasons. 
Lack of basic supplies in border areas, including fuel and cash, and major distortions in the exchange rate severely affected UNHCR’s work. Contracts with partners converted in local currency resulted in limited budgets to address the massive needs of people of concern. This was coupled with insecure border areas with armed groups fighting to gain control of illegal border activities.
The economic situation impacted negatively people of concern and host communities’ access to food and health services, and led to a critical outflow of Venezuelans in the region. Ultimately, it has increased displacement towards the borders with Brazil and Colombia.  
Community-based approach was the cornerstone of UNHCR’s work through numerous community assessments in the last quarter of 2017.

Population trends

  • A total of 123,700 people of concern
  • In 2017, Venezuela hosted close to 7,900 refugees and some 900 asylum-seekers.
  • During a pre-registration exercise which took place from October to December 2017, UNHCR identified a total of 2,918 people in need of international protection who had not accessed asylum procedures.
  • A 2017 UNHCR’s survey conducted with the National Statistics Institute estimated some 114,800 people in need of international protection, who had not accessed the asylum procedure. 

Key achievements

  • UNHCR undertook, in coordination with partners, community-based assessments for provision of services in 110 most-at-risk communities, 91 of them were prioritized for community projects in 2018.
  • Profiling of people of concern identified more than 2,900 people in need of international protection of whom 30 per cent needed additional individual assistance.
  • Bi-national coordination with UNHCR’s Office in Colombia was enhanced and a joint workplan adopted. Mapping tool of national actors for both Colombia and Venezuela was designed and updated during coordination meetings with NGOs at field level.
  • UNHCR supported the National Commission for Refugees (CONARE) to conduct six mobile registration missions. As a result, some 330 asylum seekers were registered and 230 asylum-seeker certificates were issued or renewed.

Unmet needs

Due to funding shortfall, UNHCR was not able to cover all legal assistance fees to support the people of concern in accessing asylum procedures, residency, naturalization and access to justice.
The Office lacked capacity and resources to establish effective livelihood programmes to enhance refugee self-reliance.
UNHCR was only able to assist 745 people with specific needs in 2017, despite they were struggling to meet the most basic needs. 

Working environment

UNHCR estimates that as many as 165,000 Colombians are in refugee-like situations, while only some 7,500 people have been recognized as refugees in Venezuela. Despite outreach efforts by Venezuelan institutions to provide access to asylum, many Colombians in refugee-like situations have not accessed the asylum system. The results of a profiling exercise implemented with the Venezuelan government in 2016 will help determine the magnitude, protection and solutions needs for people of concern in the country. Despite the ongoing peace process in Colombia, most refugees in Venezuela prefer local integration as the most suitable solution.

Venezuela has traditionally provided asylum-seekers and refugees with access to public services, including primary health care and education. The Government offers several welfare programmes to its citizens, such as housing, subsidized food and services for the elderly that also benefit refugees. However, the challenging socio-economic situation in the country is impacting on the daily subsistence of people of concern.  

Key priorities

Venezuela adopted a multi-year National Human Rights Plan which envisages an inter-institutional response to strengthen the protection of people of concern and bring about solutions, as part of the Government’s commitment to the Brazil Plan of Action (BPA). The adoption of a national inter-institutional implementation plan to this effect is a key priority for 2017.  In support of the inter-institutional plan, UNHCR’s multi-year, multi-partner protection and solutions strategy will focus on the acquisition of documentation by people of concern so that they can access services and a range of other rights allowed by Venezuelan law.  The profiling exercise is a critical pre-requisite to better inform and implement the protection and solutions strategy as its results, which will be made available in early 2017, will establish the magnitude, location, and the protection and solutions needs of the people of concern.  While it is expected that an important number of people in need of international protection will find a durable solution through a migratory regularization, the operation will continue to work on improving the quality of the asylum system and the social and economic integration of the persons of concern. 
In order to be able to implement a regularization campaign, accompanied by community-based socioeconomic integration initiatives, the Operation relies on the openness shown by the Venezuelan authorities and the availability of additional resources.