Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie asked President Ivan Duque on Saturday to grant citizenship to the children of Venezuelan refugees who are born in Colombia.
Jolie, who is a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), arrived in the northern La Guajira province on Friday.
After initially meeting with refugees and aid workers at a UNHCR refugee camp, Jolie met with the president in La Guajira on Saturday.
At a joint press conference, the UNHCR envoy said she had stressed the importance to nationalize 20,000 babies of Venezuelan parents who were born after their arrival in Colombia and are at risk of becoming stateless.
The president and I spoke of the risk of statelessness for more than 20,000 Venezuelan children, his commitment to always helping children.
The actress and UNHCR envoy backed Colombia’s call on the international community to increase support for the efforts needed to adequately help the more than 1.3 million Venezuelans estimated to be in Colombia, and the hundreds of thousands staying in neighboring countries Peru and Ecuador.
We agreed on the urgent need for the international community to give more support to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, who are bearing the brunt of this crisis.
Duque said he hoped that the renowned actress’ visit would alert the world about the seriousness of the migration crisis and the challenges this brings for Colombia.
The country already has trouble attending the 7.5 million people who were internally displaced by the country’s decades-long armed conflict.
According to Jolie, she also talked to Duque about “lasting solutions for the internally displaced within the context of the peace process in Colombia.”
The political and economic crisis in the neighboring country has worsened the situation for both Colombian and displaced people, many of whom are struggling to survive.
Particularly in La Guajira this has been visible. The province already suffered the highest child mortality rate in the country, but this has gone up because of the influx of starving Venezuelans who have trouble finding access to healthcare for their children.