Fleeing Venezuela: MEPs to probe humanitarian conditions in Colombia and Brazil

Venezuela United Nations 2018

UN Photo/Jess Hoffman President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, addresses the Human Right Council special meeting in Geneva.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

MEPs will visit Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil next week to assess the humanitarian situation of people fleeing Venezuela.

From 25 to 29 June, five MEPs headed by Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES) will travel to Colombia’s capital city Bogotá and the border city of Cúcuta, while another two, led by Francisco Assis (S&D, PT), will first travel to the Brazilian border city of Boa Vista and then the capital, Brasilia.

The delegation will visit both border posts and will meet with national, regional and local authorities, as well as with international organizations and NGOs, dealing with the influx of Venezuelan citizens fleeing to neighbouring countries.

Since 2005, more than two million Venezuelans have left the country and, according to UNHCR, more than 60% of them are currently in an irregular situation.

Colombia is hosting the biggest share of the Venezuelan diaspora, with over 800, 000 people, while around 50,000 are in Brazil.

Background

Venezuela is sunk in a deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis, with worsening malnutrition due to the lack of quality health services, medicines and food, and the Venezuelan government refusing to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected on 20 May for another 7-year mandate in an election in which the main opposition parties, including the Sakharov-winner Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, were not allowed to run.

The European Parliament delegation held a preparatory meeting with representatives of the countries concerned, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on 21 June in Brussels.

Participants addressed the strains caused in Colombia, Brazil and other neighbouring countries, especially in terms of health, education and accommodation, reiterating their willingness to keep their borders open to the Venezuelan migrants and calling for the EU’s support in dealing with this unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

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