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|2020 planning figures|
|277,520||people with specific needs will receive material support|
|309||projects benefiting local and displaced communities implemented|
|265||community-based committees/groups working on SGBV prevention and response|
|130||interventions in local water systems will be completed|
|96||border monitoring visits will be conducted and recorded|
|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|
People of Concern
Operational contextThe outflow from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the largest in the recent history of the region. Venezuelans fled their homes at an average of 5,000 people a day. Over 460,000 asylum claims have been filed globally by Venezuelans, more than half of which were submitted in 2018.
The continued internal displacement to border areas created saturation of reception capacity and generated rejection by receiving communities due to scarce resources. An increase in insecurity related to high incidences of criminality and impunity, presence of irregular armed groups with country-wide presence, and security forces generated internal and external displacement. Limitations in the enjoyment of rights by Venezuelan and foreign nationals affected the application of the Rule of Law in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).
The operational constraints included the declining security situation and increase in activities of irregular armed groups in border areas, limitations in humanitarian space due to lack of access to highly vulnerable communities in Delta Amacuro State and Paraguachon in Zulia State, as well as the progressive deterioration of living conditions combined with hyperinflation. Furthermore, the foreign exchange rates resulted in very high operational costs, while the arrival of staff was hindered by difficulties in obtaining visas.
Population trendsAt the end of 2018, Venezuela hosted 615 recognized refugees and 142 asylum-seekers. Close to 637,600 Venezuelans were also considered of concern to UNHCR.
Key achievementsIn 2018, UNHCR conducted needs assessments in 110 communities hosting refugees and implemented community-based projects in protection, health, education and water and sanitation in 90 prioritized communities. UNHCR improved its communication with communities and protection networks with partners and organized information sessions on the identification of people with specific needs, asylum procedure and referral pathways.
UNHCR provided counselling and targeted assistance to 2,439 persons with specific needs, mainly survivors of SGBV, children at risk, persons with disabilities, older persons and persons with serious medical conditions or disabilities; 501 of them received targeted assistance (food or core relief items, transport services, in-kind donations or bank transfer to services providers, since access to cash is limited in the country).
UNHCR created five networks of safe spaces for the prevention and response to SGBV and child protection, particularly in border states. Each network includes organizations providing services to survivors of SGBV and children at risk. Services included case management, psychosocial support, medical services, sexual and reproductive health services, legal assistance, and the provision of shelter.
Unmet needsChild Protection Councils at the municipality level remained understaffed and did not have sufficient capacity to respond to increasing numbers of children’s rights violations. Only a limited number of members of these networks were trained to ensure that best interest assessments (BIA) and referrals could be conducted, as well as family tracing and reunification carried out.
Community-based activities could only be implemented in prioritized communities based on the findings of the protection monitoring and the risk analysis tool. These activities included although in a limited capacity: information and awareness sessions, multi-sectorial assistance services, NFI distribution and capacity-building activities.
The economic situation, added to the challenging social and political context, has resulted in the departure of thousands of Venezuelans abroad. Likewise, there has been an increase in Venezuelan population moving from states in the interior of the country to border areas, as well as an increase in commuting or cross-border movements of Venezuelan and Colombian nationals in the border area with Colombia. These populations cross temporarily to buy basic articles and medicines, to access medical care or to seek job opportunities. In 2017, the accessibility of food in the country has become more challenging, mainly due high inflation and related high prices. The state programme of food assistance through food bags to the families with critical specific needs, although important, is not sufficient. The situation poses a heightened risk of malnutrition particularly among children. The capacity of the health sector is also of growing concern due to the scarcity of medicines, equipment, and health professionals.
In this context, and despite access to social assistance programmes and services subsidized by the Venezuelan government in the past, the living conditions of the close to 7,900 refugees and some 900 asylum-seekers have deteriorated. Of great concern is also the situation of some 160,000 people in a refugee-like situation, who have not yet accessed the asylum system and remain undocumented in various parts of the country.
Key prioritiesWithin the framework of the Brazil Plan of Action, UNHCR will focus on:
- Borders: Strengthening of national and binational protection networks to provide information, protection and humanitarian assistance to people in need of international protection with specific needs, host communities or commuting individuals or groups;
- Community-based interventions: Adoption of a community-based approach to respond to the protection risks and basic needs of refugees and host communities and strengthening of inter-institutional coordination, information management and communication with communities.
- Asylum: Strengthening the capacity of State institutions to provide international protection for asylum-seekers and refugees;
- Solutions: Facilitating the voluntary return and promoting the legal integration of refugees in the country through documentation and naturalization.