May 12, 2021

Venezuelan Ombudsman and UNHCR strengthens agreement for refugee protection

Venezuelan Ombudsman and UNHCR strengthens agreement for refugee protection

The Ombudsman of Venezuela today signed an agreement with the representative in Caracas of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Matthew Kwesi Crentsil, to "strengthen" the protection of refugees in Venezuelan territory.

"The purpose of this agreement that we are going to sign (…) is to strengthen the work carried out by the Ombudsman in the promotion and defense and monitoring of the human rights of refugees (…) within the national territory of this country, "Kwesi Crentsil told reporters.

He indicated that the agreement exists since 2012 and that what was signed today is to "strengthen" it, since the Ombudsman and UNHCR have "developed a strong alliance in time to share the same mission: to protect the human rights of refugees" .

"This alliance extends to all states (…) specifically the border states where there are people with specific protection needs," he continued, noting that his office also develops another set of activities with the Ombudsman for the "empowerment" of these communities.

As well as to prevent human trafficking on the border.

For his part, the Ombudsman, Alfredo Ruíz, indicated that the majority of the refugees in Venezuela are Colombians fleeing the "violence" in their country.

"Refugees from Colombia are continuously being studied," Ruíz said when asked about the number of refugees from the neighboring country.

The Venezuelan defender also took the opportunity to call on the Colombian authorities to "restore" relations, as he reiterated the complaint made by the Foreign Ministry that "diplomatic communication has been cut off.

For his part, the president of the National Commission for Refugees, an entity attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Juan Carlos Aleman, indicated that last November 54 applications for refugees were approved and that next day 13 will be granted other "295 applicants of Colombian refuge ".

"And with their relatives there are almost 500 people who are going to be protecting them, those are people in need of international protection (…) we have evaluated more than 2000 cases and of those 2000 cases 295 have already been approved and have been deferred a set of cases due to lack of collections -requirements-, "he continued.

He said that throughout the year 2018 there were "12 thousand asylum seekers" and that they rest in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He also noted that there is a "significant number of requests from Syrian citizens who have arrived in Venezuelan territory fleeing the horror of war" and that "according to what they have presented has also been approved to a considerable number" of this and other nationalities.


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