Press Release

IACHR Adopts Resolution on Forced Migration of Venezuelans

March 14, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 2/18 regarding forced migration of Venezuelans in the Americas. In the context of the 167th period of sessions held in Bogotá, the Commission decided to write a resolution in response to the situation of thousands of Venezuelans who have been forced to migrate to other countries of the region due to the serious political, economic and social crisis affecting Venezuela, as a survival strategy to allow them and their families to preserve rights such as life, integrity, liberty, heath, and food, among others.

In its report “Democratic Institutions, the Rule of Law and Human Rights in Venezuela”, the Commission highlighted the profound deterioration in human rights affecting Venezuela, and has closely monitored the situation of forced migration of Venezuelans in the region. In this regard, as of January 31, 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 133,574 asylum applications from Venezuelans, while 350,861 Venezuelans had obtained other legal migration alternatives outside of the country.

Among the many challenges that Venezuelans face when migrating, the IACHR highlights obstacles to obtaining international protection; discrimination, xenophobia, and hate speech; the risk of statelessness; threats to life and personal integrity; sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking; disappearance of migrants and refugees and the discovery of clandestine graves; the lack of identity documents; and obstacles in access to humanitarian assistance, particularly access to housing, health, food, education and other basic services. In this sense, the Resolution published today seeks to provide guidance to the States of the region on the measures to respond to the situation, in compliance with their international obligations in the field of international human rights law and of international refugee law.

"Historically, the Venezuelan State and people have been among the most welcoming in providing protection and shelter to hundreds of thousands of people who need it. The time has come for the countries of the Americas to give back solidarity and support the Venezuelans," said Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, President of the IACHR.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, said: "We cannot be indifferent to the pain of all the Venezuelan people who have to leave their country for reasons as urgent as lack of food, medicines, or political persecution. It is fundamental to prioritize the protection of individuals with a human rights approach, avoiding criminalizing and restricting migration and the protection of those who need it.”

The IACHR urges the States of the region to implement the fifteen recommendations established in the Resolution; likewise, the IACHR reiterates to the States of the region its willingness to provide technical cooperation in the preparation and implementation of public policies, laws and practices aimed at addressing the migration and international protection needs of Venezuelans; to guarantee the right to seek and receive asylum; as well as to provide and facilitate humanitarian aid and measures for the integration and resilience of Venezuelans.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 048/18