Venezuela: Parliament calls for urgent EU help for people fleeing the country

Venezuela Refugees Maduro

UNHCR/Reynesson Damasceno Venezuelan families sheltering in Simon Bolivar public square in Boa Vista’s city centre. With assistance from UNHCR and national authorities, they have voluntary relocated to the Jardim Floresta shelter.

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

MEPs urged Venezuela to allow in humanitarian aid, and the EU to release more funds to help Venezuelans fleeing the country, in a vote last Thursday.

The European Parliament is shocked and alarmed by the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which has led to many deaths and an unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants to neighbouring countries. Regrettably, “the Venezuelan Government remains obstinate in its denial of the problem”, say MEPs.

It urges Venezuela to prevent further deterioration and allow unimpeded humanitarian aid into the country as a matter of urgency, following a delegation of MEPs who visited Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil on 25-30 June.

MEPs commend Colombia, Brazil and other countries and regional players for their help and solidarity vis-à-vis Venezuelan refugees and migrants. They also call on EU member states to provide “immediate protection-oriented responses”. These could include humanitarian visas, special stay arrangements or other regional schemes.

Parliament welcomes the EU humanitarian aid allocated to date and calls for further support to be released immediately, via emergency funds, in order to meet the rapidly increasing needs of people affected by the Venezuelan crisis in neighbouring countries.

Call for new elections

Stressing that Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis stems from a political one, Parliament calls on it to hold fresh presidential elections in accordance with internationally recognised democratic standards and the country’s constitutional order, within a transparent, equal, fair and international monitoring framework, with no limitations on political parties or candidates and with full respect for the political rights of all Venezuelans.

The 20 May 2018 did not comply with the minimum international standards for a credible process and failed to respect political pluralism, democracy, transparency and the rule of law, placing additional constraints on efforts to resolve the political crisis, notes the resolution.

A legitimate government resulting from new elections must urgently address the current economic and social crisis in Venezuela and work towards national reconciliation, it adds.

The resolution was approved by 455 votes to 100, with 29 abstentions.

Background

Over two million people have left Venezuela since 2014 due to an unprecedented political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis. Many lacked basics, such as access to food, drinking water, health services and medicines.

Colombia is hosting the biggest share of displaced people, with over 820,000 Venezuelans living on its territory. Brazil is also experiencing a major influx – at the current rate there will be more than 60,000 Venezuelans living there by the end of the year.

European countries, in particular Spain, Portugal and Italy, are also increasingly affected.

On 7 June 2018 the EU Commission announced a package of €35.1 million in emergency aid and development assistance to support the Venezuelan people and the neighbourhood countries affected by the crisis, adding to the €37 million that the EU has already committed to humanitarian aid and cooperation projects in the country.

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