IOM and UNHCR saddened at deaths of refugees and migrants in shipwreck off Venezuela coast

Date Publish: 

Joint UNHCR – IOM Statement

Panama - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are deeply distressed by the death or disappearance at sea of up to 25 refugees and migrants from Venezuela, including children, after their boat capsized en route to Trinidad and Tobago. According to reports, between 14 and 21 bodies were found over the weekend floating in waters near the Venezuelan coastal town of Guiria. Search and rescue efforts continue as there may be others still missing at sea.

“This tragic incident is a reminder of the extreme risks of sea journeys and other irregular cross-border movements undertaken by Venezuelan refugees and migrants,” stated Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. “Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. We need to join forces to prevent this from happening again.”

Humanitarian organizations are in contact with the Venezuelan authorities and are on stand-by to support as necessary.

The number of Venezuelans leaving their country has increased in recent weeks as lockdown measures across the region ease. With land and maritime borders still closed, these movements take place mainly through informal routes, exposing refugees and migrants to extreme dangers. These irregular border crossings have significantly heightened health and protection risks.

“Urgent efforts are needed to stop smugglers and traffickers from sending people on these perilous journeys and to protect refugees and migrants from exploitation and abuse,” said Stein. “Strengthened regular pathways are also needed so that refugees and migrants can access safety without risking their lives.”

There are approximately 5.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world, the vast majority hosted by countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In May 2019, 16,000 were registered by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.


This is the second recorded shipwreck off Venezuela this year. In 2019, three boats were reported missing between Venezuela and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Curacao, with the loss of at least 80 lives.


For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Panama,

Daniela Rovina, IOM,, +507 6312-8294

William Spindler, UNHCR,, + 507 638 278 15

Olga Sarrado, UNHCR,, +507 6640 0185


In Geneva,

Angela Wells, IOM ( +41 79 403 5365


Shabia Mantoo, UNHCR,, +41 79 337 7650  

Last thematic webinars related to the Regional Review of the Global Compact on Migration

Date Publish: 
18 / 01 / 2021

San Jose -  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), jointly with other agencies, funds and programmes (AFPs) from the United Nations Network on Migration, invite governments, regional processes, civil society organizations and the general audience to participate in the last two sessions of the series of five information webinars organized as part of the regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Ordely and Regular Migration.

Every webinar addresses one of five thematic areas that group the 23 objectives of the Compact. The purpose of these webinars is to raise awareness and inform all relevant stakeholders, including governments and civil society, about the objectives of the Compact and its corresponding commitments.
The regional review of the Compact in Latin America and the Caribbean offers a first opportunity for a debate led by States on the implementation of the Global Compact that will:
enable governments, regional processes and platforms and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, diasporas and migrants to undertake a first assessment of progress made in implementing the Global Compact;
serve as a forum in which challenges and opportunities will be highlighted, gaps identified, regional priorities discussed and resource requirements for implementing the Global Compact identified;
provide a common platform for interaction among all relevant stakeholders, the exchange of lessons learned and best practices, and promoting peer learning within the region, building on other coordination processes in the region that might enrich the review of the Global Compact;
facilitate the formulation of key findings and recommendations to inform the 2022 International Migration Review Forum; 
consider the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the implementation of the Global Compact.


To join the upcoming webinars:

Webinar #4 – 21 January, 2021


Click here to register.

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the information to join the webinar.

Spanish-English interpretation will be available.


Webinar #5 – 28 January, 2021

Click here to register.

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the information to join the webinar.

Spanish-English interpretation will be available.


Both webinars will also be broadcast through the IOM Facebook page for the Caribbean:


To learn more about the Review of the Global Compact, visit

For more information on the events contact Rudi Maxwald, email: