Venezuela refugee donors’ conference raises US$1.554 billion for aid to migrants

Colombia pledged today to grant temporary protection status to 1.8 million migrants. At the same time, other countries, such as Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, offered similar measures to regularize the displaced.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants held on Thursday reached the commitment of countries and institutions to contribute US$1.5 billion to this crisis, of which 954 million will be donations and 600 million credits.

In addition, Colombia pledged today to grant temporary protection status to 1.8 million migrants. At the same time, other countries, such as Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, offered similar measures to regularize the displaced.

Karina Gould.
Karina Gould.

The Minister of International Development of Canada, Karina Gould, the country that organized the conference and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), pointed out that this year six new countries have agreed to contribute funds.

The donation figure is higher than the figure reached during the previous conference, held last year when commitments were set at US$653 million.

Gould pointed out after the conference’s conclusion, in which 46 countries plus institutions such as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) participated, that “we can be very proud of the increase in donations that we have achieved today”.

An increase which, she continued, is a “sign” of the recognition of this “serious crisis” and its “enormous impact” on the countries of the region. “I am very pleased with the level of donations announced today, and I am certainly grateful to all donors, including the six new donors as well as those who have increased their contributions over last year,” Gould added.

Canada announced that it would allocate some US$93 million in donations to the crisis while the United States doubled its contribution from last year to US$400 million.

For its part, Spain pledged some US$59.5 million in aid, a contribution on top of another 50 million euros pledged in 2020.

The Spanish contribution was announced by Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, who stressed during her speech that “the host countries are giving a lesson in solidarity that deserves our full support.

“This is our way of telling the Venezuelan people and the host communities in Latin America that we will not leave them alone. They continue and will continue to count on Spain,” added González Laya.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also noted in response to questions from Efe that “the increase in contributions is very welcome” and added that “further pledges of contributions are likely” in the remainder of the year.

“Although we are not going to reach 100% of the needs, we are doing better than last year’s contributions, and that is a good sign,” Grandi continued.

For his part, António Vitorio, the director-general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), explained according to data from this institution that “there are still migratory flows from Venezuela to host countries.”

“We anticipate that flows will continue to increase during the rest of the year. We need to be prepared to respond to these increases in displaced people,” he added.

Grandi also expressed his satisfaction that Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and the United States have committed to begin regularizing displaced persons and estimated that some three million people, more than half of the Venezuelan diaspora, will benefit from these measures.

Colombian President Iván Duque said in his speech that “Colombia is going to give temporary protection status to about 1.8 million migrants”, which he said is “the most relevant humanitarian gesture and protection of the human rights of migrants that have been seen in the recent history of the world”.

“By December, we will have the first delivery of cards with biometric recognition for a very significant number of immigrants. As of today, we have more than 1 million who have registered to receive their temporary protected status,” he added.

The contributions between donations and loans cover the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) figure urgently requested last week to respond to the crisis. At the time, the agency put the amount needed to assist Venezuelan migrants and refugees at US$1.44 billion.

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