President Iván Duque of Colombia announced on February 9th, the creation of a Temporary Statute of Protection for Venezuelan Migrants, which will benefit more than two million Venezuelans. The UN Secretary General congratulated the government and extolled the move as an example for the world.
The president declared that Venezuelans will have a temporary protection status for ten years, during which time they will be able to process a resident visa if they decide to stay in the country.
The process will start with the official registry of the migrants, which will include their places of residence, their socioeconomic conditions and, biometric registry, Duque specified. The announcement followed harsh criticism against discussions of potential exclusions of undocumented Venezuelans last December from the mass vaccination processes against the coronavirus that are set to begin on February 20th.
Colombia is the main host country for the Venezuelan exodus. The United Nations estimates that 34% of the five million Venezuelans who left its territory are in the country.
According to the UNHCR, at the end of 2019 more than 4.7 million Venezuelans had left their country and traveled mainly to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a phenomenon that has become the largest exodus in the recent history of the region and one of the biggest global displacement crises.
Thus, with 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia, it is the country that hosts the largest number of immigrants of that nationality. It is followed by Peru with 768,000 and Chile with 288,000, according to data from the UN Refugee Agency.
In its analysis of global migration patterns, El Nuevo Siglo describes the case of Colombian-Venezuelan migration as far from atypical. Out of 100% of the number of refugees worldwide, 68% of them come from five countries: Syria, with 6.6 million; Venezuela, with 3.7 million; Afghanistan, with 2.7 million; South Sudan, with 2.2 million and finally Myanmar, with 1.1 million refugees in countries other than their own.
They were followed by Somalia (0.9 million); Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.8 million); Sudan (0.7 million); Iraq (0.3 million) and the Central African Republic, with 600,000 displaced, reports the publication.
Migration and displacement have continued, globally. At the end of the previous year, according to a report by the United Nations Refugee Agency, ACNUR, 79.5 million people had to leave their homeland as a result of persecution, violence, conflicts and violation of human rights, among other factors.
#AEstaHora adelantamos reunión con Alto Comisionado ACNUR, @FilippoGrandi, con quien hablamos de crisis humanitaria por migración Venezolana. Además, revisamos agenda de trabajo conjunto para atención de población de refugiados y migrantes, y medidas que adoptaremos en el 2021. pic.twitter.com/JcIZCBTsnM
— Iván Duque ?? (@IvanDuque) February 8, 2021
In reference to the new migratory protections in Colombia, Duque explained the historic decision:
“This statute is created taking into account that more than 56% of Venezuelans who are in Colombia live in an irregular condition and understanding that the irregularity affects not only the migrant, but also the country.”
Soledad is the founder of Latina Republic and is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Soledad lived the immigrant experience in the US, which shaped her as an advocate for immigrant rights. Her passion for the immigrant experience in the U.S. led her to pursue a PhD in US immigration history. She enjoyed over a decade of her professional career in academia, but was pulled in a new direction when she learned about Friends of OC Detainees through a student. She was immediately inspired to volunteer and visit women held in detention in Orange County. By learning about their struggles and the motives for leaving their home countries in Central and South America, Soledad saw a need to understand and communicate the regional causes that pushed migrants outside their homes. By staying in touch with women who were deported to Central America, Soledad gained insight into local problems and encountered leaders and organizations in Central America that were dedicated to making their communities stronger, safer, and self-reliant. What started as a forum for storytelling in an effort to destroy stereotypes that depict migrants in an inaccurate light, turned into a nonprofit formed to help support courageous leaders and organizations that work hard every day to improve their countries. The study of migrants fleeing to the US, led Soledad to develop an equal passion for advancing the rights of Latinx families in Southern California where the stigma of public charge and a pattern of immigrant single-headed households necessitates action steps, information and local partnership. Soledad is an oral historian with a passion for human rights.