Ecuador’s government has issued refugee visas to over 16,000 displaced Colombians in provinces bordering Colombia, the Foreign Ministry announced in a statement Thursday.
A survey, launched in March, is currently underway in the country’s southeastern province of Succumbios, an area said to have the highest number of Colombians displaced by that nation’s internal conflict.
“The efficient, expedite and trustworthy character of the broad register has allowed use to recognize 16,083 Colombians as refugees,” the statement said.
“Via identification and documentation of the refugee population in its territory, which could be 135,000 people, the Ecuadorian state is fulfilling programs in terms of international refugee protection,” it continued.
The census, which costs the nation US$44 million annually, has been praised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The government now plans to regularize 55,000 Colombians, or 10 percent of the refugee population. (Xinhua)