Joint EU-IOM-UNHCR Communique: International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Date Publish: 
10/29/2019

Joint Communique by the co-chairs António Vitorino, Federica Mogherini, Filippo Grandi

The International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis held in Brussels on 28-29 October 2019 sent a strong message of support to the Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as to their host countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

The Conference was co-chaired by Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and IOM Director General António Vitorino. The event aimed to raise global awareness about the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis and the efforts of hosting countries and communities. It also reviewed best practices and achievements of host countries, confirmed international support for a regional and coordinated response, and called for a global and inclusive partnership, where solidarity and responsibility are shouldered by the entire international community but also shared between public and private sectors. 

120 delegations attended, including EU Institutions and Member States, the most affected Latin American and Caribbean countries, donor countries, UN agencies, private sector, NGOs, civil society organisations and development actors including international financial institutions. 

The Conference acknowledged that the serious and deteriorating political, human rights and socio-economic crisis in Venezuela has produced one of the most severe displacement situations in the world., The outflow continues unabated, while resources and financing fall considerably short of the needs. According to official figures, some 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country and most of them are in Latin American or Caribbean countries. This figure could reach 6.5 million people by end of 2020 worldwide. 

The Conference commended the remarkable solidarity of countries in the region and acknowledged the substantial challenges they face. Participants reaffirmed their strong commitment to continue protecting and assisting Venezuelan refugees and migrants and to support the efforts of the governments of the receiving countries, notably in ensuring a sustainable integration in host communities.  

The Conference also expressed appreciation for the coordinated response of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Quito Process constitutes a significant step forward in harmonizing policies and practices, thereby scaling up the humanitarian response and integrating refugees and migrants across the region. 

While recognizing the sovereign right of States to manage their borders, the co-chairs stressed the importance of preserving access to asylum, strengthening the mechanisms that allow the identification of people in need of international protection, maintaining flexible entry policies, continuing regularizing and providing documents to Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as facilitating family reunification. Any acts of hatred, intolerance and xenophobia – even if isolated and unrepresentative – need to be forcefully rejected. 

The Conference confirmed the need for increased financial and technical support for host countries through stronger engagement from donors, international financial institutions, development actors, and the private sector to support national authorities in the provision of services and to promote economic opportunities for refugees, migrants and host communities. International financial institutions can play a key role by providing concessional funding and grants as well as technical assistance. Early intervention of development actors will be needed to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus, reinforce social protection schemes, build capacity and facilitate the inclusion of refugees and migrants into the labour market. 

Participants underlined the need for a cooperation mechanism involving donor states, international financial institutions and other relevant actors. They reaffirmed the role of the Regional Coordination Platform led by UNHCR and IOM as the coordination mechanism to respond to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis.  

As next steps, the Conference expressed support for the decision to hold a first meeting of the Group of Friends of the Quito Process, chaired by the European Union, in the coming months. The co-chairs noted with appreciation the additional pledges made during the conference and highlighted the importance of a continuous process over the coming year to mobilize substantial additional funding, including through a pledging conference.  

António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration   
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission   
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees   

 

Tags: 
Venezuela, venezuelans

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! 

End