Category Archives: News

10Dec/19

La crisis de refugiados en Venezuela pronto será la más grande y con menos fondos en la historia moderna

Source: Brookings Institution
Country: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Si las tendencias actuales continúan, podría haber hasta 6.5 millones de venezolanos viviendo fuera del país para 2020 superando ampliamente la velocidad del desplazamiento en Siria.

Dany Bahar y Meagan Dooley
Lunes, 9 de diciembre, 2019

La crisis de refugiados venezolanos está a punto de superar la escala de la crisis siria.

Para finales del 2019, 4 años después del comienzo de la crisis humanitaria venezolana, 4.6 millones de venezolanos han huido del país, alrededor del 16 por ciento de la población. La cifra es sumamente similar a los 4,8 millones de personas que habían huido de Siria en 2015, 4 años después de la crisis del desplazamiento forzado masivo allí. Como muestra la Figura 1, la crisis de refugiados venezolanos es una de las más grandes en la historia moderna, y si las tendencias actuales continúan, podría haber hasta 6.5 millones de venezolanos viviendo fuera del país para 2020 (según las estimaciones del ACNUR), superando ampliamente la velocidad del desplazamiento observado en Siria. En trabajos anteriores, mostramos que los números podrían ser significativamente más altos si la crisis humanitaria en Venezuela continúa empeorando, llegando a más de 8 millones.

A diferencia de otras crisis de refugiados, la venezolana no es el resultado de una guerra o conflicto convencional. Pero las condiciones que enfrentan los venezolanos a diario no son muy diferentes a las de una zona de guerra activa. Desde 2013, la economía venezolana se ha contraído en un 65 por ciento. Los únicos casos comparables a una recesión tan grande son países en conflicto activo, como Liberia durante su sangrienta guerra civil, que perdió el 90 por ciento de su PIB. Pero el colapso económico venezolano, que precedió a las sanciones internacionales, se destaca porque no fue provocado por fuerzas externas o disturbios internos: fue fabricado por aquellos en el poder y, por lo tanto, totalmente evitable.

Esto ha resultado en una de las peores crisis humanitarias que este hemisferio haya visto. La FAO estima que la tasa de desnutrición se ha cuadruplicado desde 2012, y la ONU estima que la vida de 300,000 personas está en riesgo debido al acceso limitado a tratamiento médico y medicamentos que salvan vidas. De hecho, Venezuela se está convirtiendo rápidamente en un estado fallido, si es que ya no lo es. La escasez prolongada de agua y electricidad se ha convertido en la norma, y ​​la violencia generalizada –a menudo llevada a cabo con la complicidad de las fuerzas de seguridad del gobierno— hace del país uno de los más violentos del mundo.

Por lo tanto, aquellos que huyen de Venezuela son refugiados y deberían tener derecho a las protecciones que vienen con ese estatus. Hasta ahora, la mayor parte de las responsabilidades de hospedaje, y por lo tanto los desafíos de integración, han recaído en los vecinos regionales.

Sin embargo, a pesar de la escala masiva de desplazamiento y necesidad humanitaria, las naciones anfitrionas –siendo las tres más grandes Colombia, Ecuador y Perú—han recibido muy poco apoyo de la comunidad internacional en comparación con otros episodios históricos de desplazamiento forzado. En respuesta a la crisis siria, por ejemplo, la comunidad internacional movilizó grandes sumas de capitales: $ 7,4 mil millones en esfuerzos de respuesta a refugiados en los primeros 4 años. La financiación para la crisis venezolana no ha seguido el mismo ritmo: a 4 años de la crisis, la comunidad internacional ha donado solamente $ 580 millones. En términos per cápita, esto se traduce en $ 1,500 por refugiado sirio y $ 125 por refugiado venezolano.

En noviembre de 2019, el ACNUR y la OIM presentaron un llamamiento regional de $ 1.35 mil millones para la respuesta de los refugiados venezolanos en 2020. El llamamiento incluye fondos para ayuda humanitaria, así como esfuerzos de inclusión social y económica a largo plazo. Este es un paso positivo hacia un enfoque regional unificado para ayudar a las comunidades receptoras, así como a los refugiados mismos. Sin embargo, incluso si la petición logra total financiamiento (la apelación de 2019, por ejemplo, ha sido financiada solamente en un 52 por ciento), hablamos de un total de $ 2 mil millones después de cinco años de conflicto. La crisis de los refugiados Rohingya alcanzó este nivel de financiación en tan solo dos años, para ayudar a 1,2 millones de personas desplazadas, aproximadamente una cuarta parte de la población de refugiados venezolanos. Incluso, la crisis de refugiados de Sudán del Sur, una crisis conocida también por tener insuficiente financiamiento, recibió el doble de fondos de Venezuela cuatro años después de la crisis.

La financiación es crucial no solo para la provisión de necesidades humanitarias a corto plazo, sino también para inversiones en comunidades de acogida con el fin de exitosamente lograr la integración de refugiados. El financiamiento internacional puede ayudar a reforzar la infraestructura local (hospital, escuelas, carreteras, electricidad) y ampliar el acceso al crédito para las empresas locales, lo que puede ayudar a compensar los posibles efectos negativos en el mercado laboral a corto plazo causados ​​por la afluencia repentina de la oferta laboral. En el caso de América Latina, donde la infraestructura ya está rezagada, estas inversiones son particularmente importantes. Reconociendo esta necesidad crucial, el gobierno colombiano, la mayor nación anfitriona de refugiados venezolanos, dispuso de más de $ 230 millones en líneas de crédito para infraestructura e inversión privada en áreas con alta densidad de refugiados, una política que no ha recibido la atención que merece. En el mismo sentido, el Banco Mundial y el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo han ofrecido financiamiento a los gobiernos anfitriones de migrantes y refugiados venezolanos para ayudar a apoyar la generación de obras públicas en las comunidades receptoras. Sin embargo, dada la escala de desplazamiento, se requerirá mucha más financiación.

10Dec/19

Venezuela refugee crisis to become the largest and most underfunded in modern history

Source: Brookings Institution
Country: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

The Venezuelan refugee crisis is one of the largest in modern history, and, if current trends continue, there could be as many as 6.5 million Venezuelans living outside of the country by 2020.

Dany Bahar and Meagan Dooley
Monday, December 9, 2019

The Venezuelan refugee crisis is just about to surpass the scale of the Syrian crisis.

As 2019 comes to a close, four years since the start of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, 4.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country, about 16 percent of the population. The figure is strikingly similar to the 4.8 million people that had fled Syria by 2015, four years into the massive forced displacement crisis there. As Figure 1 shows, the Venezuelan refugee crisis is one of the largest in modern history, and, if current trends continue, there could be as many as 6.5 million Venezuelans living outside of the country by 2020 (based on estimates from the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR)—far outpacing the speed of displacement seen in Syria. In prior work, we show that the numbers could be significantly higher if the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to worsen, reaching over 8 million.

Unlike other refugee crises, the Venezuelan one is not the result of conventional war or conflict. But the conditions Venezuelans face daily are not much different than those in an active war zone. Since 2013 the Venezuelan economy has contracted by 65 percent, the largest contraction outside of war in 45 years. The only close comparators are countries in active conflict, such as Liberia, which lost 90 percent of its GDP during its bloody civil war. But the Venezuelan economic collapse, which preceded international sanctions, stands out because it was not triggered by external forces or internal unrest: It was manufactured by those in power, and thus, was totally avoidable.

This has resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises this hemisphere has ever seen. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the undernourishment rate has quadrupled since 2012, and the U.N. estimates that 300,000 people’s lives are at risk due to limited access to medical treatment and lifesaving medications. In fact, Venezuela is quickly becoming a failed state, if it hasn’t become one already. Extended shortages of water and electricity have become the norm, and generalized violence—often carried out with the complicity of government security forces—makes the country one of the most violent in the world.

Thus, those fleeing Venezuela are refugees and should be entitled to the protections that come with that status. So far, the bulk of the hosting responsibilities, and hence integration challenges, have fallen on regional neighbors. Yet, despite the massive scale of displacement and humanitarian need, host nations—the three largest being Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—have received very little support from the international community compared with other historical displacement episodes. In response to the Syrian crisis, for example, the international community mobilized large capital inflows, spending a cumulative $7.4 billion on refugee response efforts in the first four years. Funding for the Venezuelan crisis has not kept pace; four years into the crisis, the international community has spent just $580 million. On a per capita basis, this translates into $1,500 per Syrian refugee and $125 per Venezuelan refugee.

In November 2019, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) put out a $1.35 billion regional appeal for the Venezuelan refugee response in 2020. The appeal includes funds for humanitarian relief as well as for long-term social and economic inclusion efforts. This is a positive step toward a unified regional approach that provides for host communities as well as refugees. However, even if fully funded (the 2019 appeal, for instance, remains only 52 percent funded), the new appeal would only bring cumulative funding to $2 billion after five years of conflict. The Rohingya refugee crisis, on the other hand, reached this level of funding within two years, to assist 1.2 million displaced people—about a quarter of the Venezuelan refugee population. Even the South Sudan refugee crisis, also chronically underfunded, had received double Venezuela’s funding four years into the crisis.

Funding is crucial not only for the provision of short-term humanitarian needs, but also for investments in host communities, which promote successful refugee integration efforts. International financing can help bolster local infrastructure (hospital, schools, roads, electricity) and expand access to credit for local firms, both of which can help offset possible short-term negative labor market effects caused by the sudden labor supply inflow. In the case of Latin America, where infrastructure is already lagging behind, these investments are particularly important. Recognizing this crucial need, the Colombian government—the largest Venezuelan hosting nation—launched over $230 million in credit lines for infrastructure and private investment in areas with high refugee density, a policy that has not received the attention it deserves. In the same vein, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank have opened up financing to Venezuelan host governments to help support the additional strain on public works. Yet given the scale of displacement, much more funding will be required.

10Dec/19

Sporting world pledge support for refugees, ahead of next week’s Global Refugee Forum

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: World

UNHCR has worked closely with the Olympic Refuge Foundation and the IOC on this global initiative, ahead of the first-ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva on 17 and 18 December, 2019.

Arabic Version

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that more than 70 entities – including National Olympic Committees, international sporting federations, national associations, clubs, and civil society organizations working through sport – are pledging to provide sporting opportunities to young refugees.

Recognizing the transformative power of sport, UNHCR has worked closely with the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) and the IOC on this global initiative, ahead of the first-ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva on 17 and 18 December, 2019.

The three pledges are:

  • To promote and ensure access for all refugees, without distinction of any kind, to safe and inclusive sporting facilities.
  • To increase availability and access to organized sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities, actively considering age, gender, ability and other diversity needs.
  • To promote and facilitate equal access to and participation of refugees in sporting events and competitions at all levels.

“We wholeheartedly welcome these important commitments. They clearly demonstrate that the sporting world stands with refugees,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“This genuinely global and collective effort is crucial for promoting sports programmes to help young refugees build confidence, their physical and mental health, discover their potential and restore the prospect of a better future.”

The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, who will be presenting the pledges on behalf of the signatories at the upcoming Global Refugee Forum, also welcomed the support.

“Through sport, the IOC has been supporting refugees around the world for many years”, said the IOC President Thomas Bach. ”More recently, together with UNHCR, we created the Olympic Refuge Foundation. From this experience we know that for children and young people uprooted by war or persecution, sport is much more than a leisure activity”.

”The pledges that we are making today reaffirm the commitment from the sports movement and key partners – from governments to NGOs – to play their part in supporting refugees. I am pleased to see that over 70 organizations are already part of the sports coalition, and I would hope that more organizations join us in the lead-up to the Global Refugee Forum.”

Those making pledges include World Athletics, the International Judo Federation, Special Olympics and International Paralympic Committee, the Bangladesh, English and Republic of Ireland Football Associations, the AC Milan Foundation, Council of Southern Africa Football Associations, and Olympic Committees from 12 countries.

A declaration signed by those pledging recognises that for children and young people uprooted by war or persecution, sport is much more than a leisure activity. It’s an opportunity to be included and protected – a chance to heal, develop and grow.

Today’s announcement also furthers both UNHCR and partners’ commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The signatories are also calling for sports organizations around the world to join them in offering sporting opportunities to refugee and internally displaced young people, especially those living in their communities.

The full list of entities pledging and their joint statement can be found here.

Background Notes

The Global Compact on Refugees, the international framework for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries, specifically recognizes the contribution of sport and sporting entities in the protection and well-being of refugees and the internally displaced. The sporting commitments along with other contributions will be highlighted at the forthcoming Global Refugee Forum.

For more information, please contact:

For UNHCR:

In Geneva, Nick Sore, sore@unhcr.org, +41 79 447 0275
In London, Claire Roberts Lamont, lamont@unhcr.org,+44 7445 607 729

For IOC:

In Lausanne, Emmanuelle Moreau, emmanuelle.moreau@olympic.org, +41 21 62164126

10Dec/19

At least 170,000 people affected by floods in three worst-hit areas of Congo

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Homes, schools and health centres in affected areas are flooded and only accessible by boat. Priority needs are water, sanitation, shelter, food and essential non-food items.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Since October 2019, heavy rains have affected at least 170,000 people in the three most affected departments alone, including 30,000 Central African and Congolese refugees.

• Flooding caused by the overflow of the Oubangui and Congo rivers has damaged infrastructure and impeded access to food, water, education and health care.

• Homes, schools and health centres in affected areas are flooded and only accessible by boat.

• Priority needs are water, sanitation, shelter, food and essential non-food items.

• The government declared a state of natural disaster and humanitarian emergency in Likouala, Cuvette and Plateaux departments on 19 November 2019.

• More information and assessments are required to confirm figures and the most acute needs as well as prioritise the response.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Since the beginning of October 2019, torrential rains have affected eight out of twelve departments (Likouala, Cuvette, Plateaux, Sengha, Kouilou, Niari, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire) according to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Action and Solidarity.

In the north of the country, rains have caused the Oubangui and Congo rivers to overflow, where the most vulnerable populations live (departments of Likouala, Cuvette, Plateaux). Hundreds of villages along the river have been affected, many of which are completely submerged by water.
The United Nations estimates that approximately 170,000 people are affected in Likouala, Cuvette and Plateaux. Homes, schools and health centres in the affected areas are flooded and only accessible by boat. Most water points and sanitation facilities are no longer functioning. Affected communities do not have access to safe drinking water, and hygiene and sanitation products are scarce, exacerbating the risks of contamination and epidemics caused by water and mosquitoes (typhoid, cholera, malaria).

The floods destroyed or damaged many houses in affected areas and most families sleep outside. These people need emergency shelter, insulation and essential non-food items (jerry cans, treated mosquito nets, mats, etc.).

Significant crop and livestock losses have also been reported. Half of the crop areas are flooded, and unharvested production destroyed, including cassava fields, a staple food. The next harvest will not take place until the last quarter of 2020. Losses are also significant in the breeding and fishing sectors. Food reserves are already quickly running out.

The toll could increase in the coming days, as more information is received and verified in the affected areas. Further damage is also expected as the rains continue, and the forecast still indicates heavy rains in the coming weeks.