Venezuelans brave torrential border river, face exploitation, abuse – UN urges greater protection

UNICEF/Santiago Arcos In a situation of human mobility, hundreds of Venezuelans wait in line at the Rumichaca border of Ecuador with Colombia to seal their passport and continue their journeys.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Noting that the Venezuela refugee crisis will leave some 1.1 million children, returnees and people in-transit lacking protection and basic services across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 2019, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called on regional Governments to uphold their rights and protect unaccompanied, undocumented children.

UNICEF is encouraged by Governments’ efforts to jointly seek regional solutions to the challenges posed by largescale migration that are in line with international standards and national laws, such as the protocol adopted by Ecuador to protect uprooted children,” said María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF’s Regional LAC Director.

However, she added, as the crisis inside Venezuela continues, migrants increase, and essential protection, healthcare and education services in host and transit countries, are suffering additional strain.

Amid spiraling hyperinflation, shortages of basic goods, political turmoil, violence and persecution, almost 3.4 million Venezuelans have left the country to seek safety or a better life abroad, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

A downward spiraling situation

While more than 250,000 Venezuelans filed asylum claims last year, mostly in Latin America, many remain in an irregular situation, lacking guarantees to basic rights and exposed to exploitation and abuse.

Meanwhile, uprooted children and families face challenges in regularizing their immigration status, which can impact an array of services, as well as early childhood development.

Moreover, host countries lacking clear migration policies, put children at higher risk of discrimination, family separation, xenophobia and violence – with unaccompanied and separated children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and indigenous people at even greater risk.

“Human rights standards call for States to allow children entry and registration as a precondition for carrying out initial protection assessment procedures,” stressed Ms. Perceval. “Even when they are unaccompanied and without official documentation, they should be immediately directed to specialized personnel, who can assess their protection needs”.

In addition to providing States with valuable planning and budget information, UNICEF called registering children on the move “the first step in guaranteeing their rights”.  The agency has appealed for $69.5 million to meet the needs of migrants across the LAC region.

Braving floods, bandits and treacherous footpaths

Despite Venezuela’s official land-border closures with neighbouring Colombia and Brazil in February, thousands of people continue to flee daily, many risking their lives by wading across torrential rivers or facing exploitation and abuse by armed groups controlling treacherous pathways, according to UNHCR.

Earlier in the week, security forces in both Venezuela and Colombia struggled to control some 46,000 desperate people who forced their way across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge border crossing.

Moving in both directions, crowd-barriers were overturned as peopled risked being crushed or trampled by the crowd. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

UNHCR spokesperson, Andrej Mahecic, told reporters in Geneva that “the crowds were a result of the Tachira River swelling, which in turn is making crossings by foot even more dangerous than usual”.

Since 23 February, when the Venezuelan restrictions on border crossings were instituted, people have resorted to using muddy footpaths known as “trochas” and wading across the Tachira River to get to Cucuta where they work, study, and get medical attention, food and medicines unavailable at home. Thousands of others enter en-route to other Latin American countries.

The Tachira is prone to flash floods and its strong current often carries logs and dead animals, while bandits and armed groups often prey on the refugees and migrants that use the trochas, according to UNHCR.

“With heavy rain having swollen the river and flooded many of the footpaths, the only viable option for most Venezuelans was the bridge”, he explained, adding that the situation illustrates the dangers of irregular cross-border movements by desperate people.

Although river’s current had temporarily subsided by mid-week, the onset of the rainy season means “crossings will continue to be highly dangerous”.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

More than half of the global population is now online

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

Refugee crisis update: EU lacks solidarity as migration figures drop

Coronavirus – here’s the public health advice on how to protect yourself

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Countries must invest at least 1% more of GDP on primary healthcare to eliminate glaring coverage gaps

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

Juncker Plan reaches almost €410 billion in triggered investment across the EU

These dogs can smell tree disease – and could help save the world’s orange groves

A Sting Exclusive, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger writes for the Sting on “EU Industry: a major energizer”

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

‘Vaccines are safe’ and save lives, UNICEF declares, launching new #VaccinesWork campaign

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

6 surprising side effects of this year’s global heatwave

How do we build a #sustainableworld?

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

Killings and violence targeting ethnic group in DR Congo ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

What’s needed to ensure maternal health for women in vulnerable populations

COVID-19 underlines the importance of fintech in emerging markets

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

The hidden downsides of autonomous vehicles – and how to avoid them

E-Governance: A powerful tool to combat, mitigate and sustainably manage disaster risks

Australian solar could power Singapore within a decade

Ukraine’s Poroshenko implicates NATO in his duel with Putin

These 4 trends are shaping the future of your job

EU leading in global agri-food trade

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

Countries must up their game to reduce low birth weights, warns UN-backed report

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Oslo leads the way in ‘Breathe Life’ campaign for cleaner cities in climate change era

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

Pedro Sánchez: We must protect Europe, so Europe can protect its citizens

This is how countries compare on gun deaths

The US starts an intense currency war to protect its global standing

Threat from petty criminals who turn to terrorism, a growing concern, Security Council hears

Statistics show the ugly face of youth training schemes

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

“Austerity was not the alternative!”, President Hannes Swoboda of the European Socialists and Democrats on another Sting Exclusive

Global initiative launched to keep top sports events safe from terrorism

Could this electric ferry’s success herald an era of greener shipping?

Coronavirus update: COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says UN trade agency

From the boardroom to the consulting room: pharma’s role in curing gender bias

State aid: Commission approves €30 billion French subordinated loan scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

Where are the charities in the great Artificial Intelligence debate?

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

Why business can no longer turn a blind eye to poor vision

The role of employers in the post #MeToo era

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s