Governments across Latin America and the Caribbean must assume their collective responsibility to protect and guarantee the human rights of everyone fleeing Venezuela, said Amnesty International today in an open letter to regional governments attending an emergency summit in Quito, Ecuador.
“Millions of people have been forced to leave everything behind and walk for days on end to escape massive human rights violations in Venezuela, including arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, torture and violations of their rights to food and health,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The solution requires international leadership and cooperation. Neighbouring countries must show solidarity and commit to protecting the people of Venezuela in their time of need. They must not turn their backs on people who are simply searching for somewhere to rebuild their lives in safety.”
More than 2.3 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, equivalent to more than seven percent of the population, according to UN figures. The majority have sought refuge in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Given the scale of the refugee crisis, Amnesty International calls on governments in the region to grant access to procedures for protection to all arrivals from Venezuela. Receiving countries must implement immediate and effective protective measures for Venezuelans and ensure they are not forcibly returned. States must guarantee access to human rights for both receiving communities and people in need of international protection, including the rights to health, education, work, safety and freedom of movement, among others.
Regional governments and specialist international agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) must also establish their shared responsibility to provide financial and logistical support to guarantee the rights and protection of all arrivals from Venezuela.