OFFICIAL STATEMENT 038
Spain and EU launch Conference of Donors in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants in countries in the region in the midst of COVID-19
15/05/2020
Today, the Government of Spain and the European Union (EU) have announced an International Conference of Donors in solidarity with the Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin American countries. This conference will be held virtually, coordinated between Madrid and Brussels on 26 May 2020. The Government of Spain and the European Union will organise the meeting, which has the support of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as co-organisers.

The aim of this conference is to raise awareness in the international community of this unprecedented crisis, mobilise resources to help the displaced population and the main host communities, tackle the severe situation caused by COVID-19 and encourage a greater and more coordinated commitment from the key players.

The organisers alert the international community to the serious lack of attention being given to this crisis, which has now been exacerbated by the difficulties caused by the spread of COVID-19 to host countries.

For the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, “Venezuela’s neighbours have shown great generosity by taking in so many Venezuelans that have left their country. Their effort and solidarity should serve as an example to us all. We are committed to helping them at this critical time”.
 
In the words of the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, “the international community cannot stand by and watch the drama of the Venezuelan exodus unfold. We must act without delay”.

More than 40 countries, United Nations agencies, international financial institutions and representatives of national and international civil society will take part in the conference. This will give international visibility to the worst displacement crisis suffered in Latin America in its recent history and attract resources to help the needy. 

Context

This conference of donors stems from the commitment taken on by the EU at the International Solidarity Conference held in Brussels in October 2019 to follow on with a conference of donors as soon as possible. Spain, the EU, the UNHCR and the IOM urge the international community to step up support for displaced people and to strengthen public services, including health systems and education for host countries. The lives and well-being of millions of Venezuelans and of host communities depend on this.

The number of refugees and migrants forced to leave Venezuela over the last five years now exceeds 5 million people, 80% of whom have been displaced to other countries in the region. This is the second worst external displacement crisis in the world, behind only Syria.

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-

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