Slovenia will help Venezuelan refugees

Slovenia will help Venezuelan refugees

At a virtual conference for solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the region, State Secretary in Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stanislav Raščan announced humanitarian contribution in the amount of 60,000 euros. The contribution will be addressed to Venezuelan refugees in Brazil through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in two parts, this year and next.

This year’s second international donors’ conference, hosted by Canada in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the regional inter-agency coordination platform Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), was attended by Latin America and the Caribbean, which for many years have provided shelter to more than 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region (including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Panama), international organizations, including with international financial institutions (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank), representatives of civil society and the private sector, the European Commission and senior representatives of many donor countries, including 21 members of the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

In addition to Canadian Minister of International Development Karini Gould, IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Fillip Grandi, Special Envoy for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in the Region Eduardo Stein, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, OAD Secretary-General Luis Almago, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, Commissioners Urpilainen and Lenarčič. The European Union has announced further support for efforts to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing complex crisis and assistance to the affected population of Venezuela and the countries of the region, which have hospitably welcomed them, as well as a new donation.  Some new donors have joined the existing ones, including among the members of the Union.

State Secretary Raščan welcomed the organization of the Second International Donors’ Conference for Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants and thanked Canada and its co-organizers, including for organizing a previous high-level meeting with civil society. He emphasized that a protracted, complex crisis required a coordinated international response and a political solution that would be peaceful, democratic and inclusive. He expressed sympathy for the people inside and outside Venezuela most affected by the crisis. Slovenia supports the efforts of the European Union and international partners to find a solution to the crisis.

Slovenia responded to the difficult humanitarian situation in Venezuela for the first time in 2019, with a humanitarian contribution of EUR 50,000 through the European Commission’s Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management for the needs of the health sector. At the 2020 donors’ conference, Slovenia provided a contribution of € 10,000 through the International Committee of the Red Cross to help Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin American countries and to help refugees and migrants in Brazil. One of the most important activities of Slovenia in the last two years is the repatriation of members of the Slovene community from Venezuela and their family members to Slovenia, in accordance with the Act on Relations of the Republic of Slovenia with Slovenes Abroad.

The Venezuelan refugee crisis represents the largest migration crisis in modern Latin American history and currently the second-largest humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 5.6 million people have left the country since 2015. The consequences of the pandemic and related restrictive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 have exacerbated the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees over the past year and a half.