Emergency Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela Launched

Date Publish: 

Geneva, 14 December - Faced with the largest population outflow in Latin America of recent years, 95 organizations covering 16 countries have been working together to establish a comprehensive response to the urgent needs of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and host communities. This effort is coordinated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration.

Launched today in Geneva, the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) is the first of its kind in the Americas: an operational blueprint, coordination template and strategy for responding to the needs of Venezuelans on the move and securing their social and economic inclusion in the communities receiving them.

The RMRP, which is also an appeal for funding, focuses on four key areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration and strengthening capacities in the receiving countries.

“This plan is a call to the donor community, including international financial institutions and development actors who can play a key role in this situation, to increase their support to refugees and migrants in the region and the host communities which have kindly opened their arms to them,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

“Venezuelans I met during my visits spoke of hunger, lack of access to medical care, insecurity, threats, fear. They are families, women alone, children, young boys and girls, all in conditions of extreme vulnerability. All of them saw no other option than to leave their country – sometimes walking for days –   seeking to live in dignity and to build a future,” Stein said, adding that this critical situation is exacerbated by the lack of livelihoods, which exposes refugees and migrants to all forms of exploitation.  

Although Venezuelans have been leaving their country for several years, these movements increased in 2017 and further accelerated in 2018. According to available estimates, during 2018 an average of 5,500 people have been leaving the country every day.

“The solidarity of Latin American countries with Venezuelans has been humbling. It is now vital that we stabilize the dire humanitarian situation affecting the millions of Venezuelans seeking protection and shelter across the continent,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The appeal launched today underscores the urgency of this complex and fast-evolving situation and the need to support the host communities.”

RMRP funding requirements in 2019 amount to USD 738 million. Interventions will target 2.7 million people in 16 countries, 2.2 million of them Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities.

“IOM is committed to expanding its support to governments across Latin America and the Caribbean who have extended assistance and solidarity to Venezuelan migrants over the past year,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said. “We call on the donor community to generously support this regional plan.”

Solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community are desperately needed, not only for Venezuelan nationals, but also for the governments and citizens of destination countries. They have been at the forefront of the response to the outflow, including through regional initiatives such as the Quito Process, and have demonstrated extraordinary generosity towards the refugees and migrants, in some cases for years. Their ability to cope and their infrastructure are being stretched beyond capacity.

“There are significant gaps and challenges, particularly regarding documentation, regularization, capacity of asylum systems, and access to basic services such as health and education, shelter and protection,” said Mr. Stein.

To date, most Venezuelan refugees and migrants have arrived initially in neighbouring Colombia. While some remain there, many have moved onwards, mainly to Ecuador, Peru, and to a lesser extent Chile and Argentina. Meanwhile Brazil has become another major destination. Mexico, Caribbean and Central American countries have so far witnessed a smaller number of arrivals, either directly or through secondary movements. These trends are likely to continue in 2019.

Download the RMRP document here

Download high resolution photos.

For more information contact:

Juliana Quintero, IOM (juquintero@iom.int +54 1132488134)

William Spindler, UNHCR (spindler@unhcr.org +507 63827815)

For background information please consult the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform website


Venezuela, acnur, asistencia humanitaria

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

Date Publish: 
30 / 07 / 2020

António Vitorino

Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) 

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 

 30 July 2020 


This year is the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its historic Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. 

We are half-way through a very difficult year for everyone, and our contemporary challenges have had a severe impact on people’s vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. 

IOM was implementing counter-trafficking interventions in accordance with human rights principles long before the Palermo Protocol gave us the clearly defined parameters that we know today. And likewise, our interventions have evolved over time as new forms of trafficking have emerged. 

We have learned, as have governments, that it is imperative to partner with the private sector, trade unions, supply chain auditors, and recruitment agencies to put in place practices to reduce the risks of trafficking and exploitation. 

As we embark upon a new decade, the world is now confronted with perhaps our biggest challenge to counter-trafficking – that of a pandemic, that has in addition brought severe restrictions to mobility, impacted livelihoods, and limited access to vulnerable people. COVID-19 has brought a devastating impact upon the household security and health of billions of people all over the world, which inevitably heightens vulnerability and risk of exploitation, whether it is job-seekers taking hazardous journeys, families relying on child labour for survival, or the marriage of young daughters in a desperate attempt to relieve economic strain. 

Now, as we have always done, the anti-trafficking community must evolve and adapt to this new crisis, finding innovative ways to identify trends, to screen for vulnerabilities, to support States while advocating for human rights and the prevention of abuse, and to seek safe and viable options for those who will remain on the move.  Let's move into this direction together, as united we are stronger!