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|2019 year-end results|
|495,700||people participated in community-based activities including on access to services, child rights, support for livelihoods and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in 54 prioritized communities|
|110,700||people from communities impacted by displacement participated in awareness-raising sessions held in UNHCR-supported community spaces|
|79,600||people with specific needs were assisted with essential relief items, including solar lamps, jerry cans, mosquito netting, hygiene kits and menstrual cups|
|1,000||survivors of sexual and gender-based violence received psychosocial, legal, medical and material assistance|
|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|
People of Concern
Operational contextThe security, political, economic and social situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela continued to deteriorate in 2019, leading to further shortages of food, medicine, basic supplies and public services. The situation not only continued to force many Venezuelans to leave the country but also triggered internal population movements.
The conditions in the country presented significant operational challenges for UNHCR and humanitarian actors. A humanitarian response plan for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was launched in August 2019, with UNHCR leading two of the eight clusters, the protection cluster and the shelter/energy/non-food items (NFI) cluster.
Notwithstanding the difficult situation within the country, some spontaneous returns were noted, particularly of vulnerable individuals unable to obtain regular status or who faced other challenges in neighboring countries.
Population trendsAt the end of 2019, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hosted some 8,900 recognized refugees and 50 asylum-seekers. The number of IDPs and people at risk of displacement in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was unknown, with UNHCR planning to contribute to a Protection Cluster interagency profiling of the internally displaced population in 2020.
- UNHCR and partners consolidated six “safe spaces” as part of the regional network in Amazonas, Apure, Bolivar, Caracas, Táchira and Zulia States which provided case management and services to over 200 survivors and people at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
- 33 field missions were conducted with the Office of the Ombudsperson, during which information on human rights was disseminated and more than 200 human rights abuses were registered.
- Over 300 civil servants were trained in the prevention of statelessness, and nearly 400 people at risk of statelessness were supported to obtain documentation.
- UNHCR supported the development of an online national system for refugee registration and case management.
- Through community centres in Caracas and San Antonio in Táchira, some 48,300 people received individual counselling on access to rights, participated in awareness-raising sessions on risk prevention and received information and support to strengthen community structures.
- The operation was funded at 66% by the end of 2019.
- With increasing needs arising in the country, UNHCR was only able to provide cash and material assistance (including access to health, education and food) to 17% of the estimated 2.7 million displaced people with specific needs.
- Due to deteriorating public services, infrastructure and security, UNHCR had to reduce the number of its prioritized communities from 90 in 2018, to 54 in 2019.
- Due to the high costs of legal processes, UNHCR was unable to provide legal assistance to many people of concern on issues relating to asylum procedures, incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, child custody and parental rights.
Working environmentAs of December 2018, more than 3 million Venezuelans have left for other countries in the region and beyond. Reasons cited for leaving included lack of food, medicine or essential social services, as well as incidents of violence and insecurity. Venezuelans continue to leave at an average of 5,000 a day.
Fluctuating oil prices and a drop in production, increased international pressure and sanctions and continued hyperinflation and disparity between the official and unofficial exchange rates will impact negatively on the economy, resulting in increased hardship and poorer living conditions in Venezuela. The deterioration of infrastructure, public services and security may impact UNHCR’s operations in 2019.
Access to basic services also remains challenging. Limited access to formal schools is leaving many Venezuelan children without education. Limited access to health services, including chronic medication and treatment, puts Venezuelans with serious medical conditions at risk. The situation also affects asylum-seekers and refugees in Venezuela who are now returning to their country of origin.
Internal relocation of the population may continue to rise due to the widespread presence of organised and common crime.
Continuing restrictions to travel abroad for Venezuelans due to the serious constraints to obtain travel documents/passports as well as stricter measures in border areas had triggered an increase of exits using unofficial routes, resulting in increased risks.
Key PrioritiesThe main components of the UNHCR strategy in Venezuela are community-based protection, border monitoring, improvement of asylum processes and enhancement of solutions to people of concern, prevention of statelessness, as well as prevention and response to gender-based violence and child protection.
- UNHCR will prioritize community-based interventions, protection monitoring, community empowerment and identification and referrals of persons with specific needs in 54 mixed communities in the country and will conduct UNHCR will engage UN agencies and other humanitarian actors in joint programmes to complement UNHCR’s community based activities in the spirit of the CRRF.
- UNHCR will consolidate five binational protection networks with organisations providing information, protection and assistance to people in transit.UNHCR will engage the Government of Venezuela to play a much more prominent role in achieving the objectives set out in the protection strategy, especially on asylum and solutions. In addition to the National Commission for Refugees (CONARE), UNHCR will also support the immigration authorities (SAIME) and oversight bodies like the Ombudsperson’s Office. Access to documentation for people of concern will be crucial and require close collaboration between UNHCR, CONARE and SAIME.
- Depending on funding availability, UNHCR will cover the documentation needs (civil status documents, passports) of all refugees. Otherwise UNHCR will only prioritise those who opt for facilitated voluntary repatriation.
- UNHCR will promote referral pathways, including transnational referrals of people in transit, and will expand its response through community networks.
- UNHCR will work to strengthen the capacity of border officials, health centers and Municipal Councils for the protection of children and adolescents in order to address the risk of SGBV and violations of children's rights.
- UNHCR will conduct sensitization sessions on birth registration for people in transit and indigenous communities, and will support Civil Registry offices to enhance their response capacity.