The special representative of United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) arrived in Colombia on Monday to coordinate a regional response to Venezuela’s ongoing migration crisis.
The mass migration of Venezuelan citizens, whose country is submerged in Latin America’s worst humanitarian crises after Colombia’s armed conflict, is causing emergencies across the region.
The UNHCR and the OIM appointed former Guatemalan Vice-President Eduardo Stein to coordinate a regional response to the crisis.
Trujillo thanked the UNHCR and IOM for their support, and said that a regional response to the migrant crisis “is the only way to overcome this situation.”
Stein said he would not get involved in ongoing political tensions between Venezuela’s government and those of its neighbors, “but to maintain those efforts of humanitarian dimension.”
Colombia’s migration agency has registered the influx of approximately a million Venezuelan citizens over the past few years, and has granted temporary work and residency permits to more than 400,000 displaced victims of the crisis.
But like many of its neighbors, the country does not have a social security system that could effectively counter an emergency like the one caused by the mass influx of migrants, many of whom enter the country without papers.
Furthermore, Colombia’s high unemployment rate and millions of internally displaced people were already straining the job market, a situation that has been aggravated by the arrival of a million often jobless Venezuelans.
Stein’s efforts will seek to diminish this by improving regional coordination while the countries and the UN agencies seek global support.