The U.S. has called on the international community to pay more attention to Colombian refugees in Ecuador, Caracol Radio reported Tuesday.
On a visit to Ecuador, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz said, “We want to ensure that issues of vulnerability in countries like Ecuador … maintain the interest and concern of the international community.”
He stated that the U.S. will devote $20 million to infrastructure projects in the northern area of Ecuador. Colombian refugees currently comprise 98% of the 53,000 people currently granted refugee status in the country.
The Ecuadorean government has called upon its Colombian counterpart to begin assuming some of the responsibility for the refugees, a sentiment that Schwartz echoed while adding his praise for the “generosity” of the Ecuadorean government and its people.
Schwartz will travel to the department of Nariño in Colombia on Wednesday to address the problems of displaced people in that area. He will then meet government representatives from Bogota on Thursday before giving a speech to the Universidad de los Andes on Friday.
Although nearly 53,000 Colombians have refugee status in Ecuador, it is estimated that there are a further 80,000 in the country with no such status.
Ecuador receives about 1,000 requests from Colombians for refugee status each month.