News story | Date: 26/05/2020 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The economic and political crisis in Venezuela has created a serious humanitarian situation that is affecting large parts of the population. Some 5 million people have left the country. At a donor conference today, organised by Spain and the European Commission, Norway reaffirmed its humanitarian support for Venezuela and its neighbouring countries.
The donor conference was co-convened by Norway, Canada, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration.
More information about the conference is available at EUs website.
As a result of the crisis in Venezuela, more than 5 million people have left the country. Some 4.3 million of them are now in neighbouring countries. This is placing a significant strain on health, education and other basic services in these countries. The crisis is one the fastest growing humanitarian crises in the world.
The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for 2020 sets out the need for USD 1.41 billion in humanitarian funding. So far, only 10 % of this amount has been pledged.
‘Norway is providing support for the response to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and its neighbouring countries through NGOs, the UN and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. We have now announced a contribution of NOK 48 million for humanitarian activities targeting refugees and migrants in Venezuela’s neighbouring countries. This will bring Norway’s support for Venezuela and its neighbouring countries to a total of NOK 87 million,’ said State Secretary Marianne Hagen, who represented Norway at the donor conference.
According to UNHCR, Ecuador and Colombia have received 400 000 and 1.6 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees respectively. The numbers have increased dramatically in the past few years, leading to rising xenophobia. Migrants and refugees are frequently subjected to various types of harassment and there are reports of recruitment by criminal and armed groups. Many women and children are the victims of sexual exploitation and some are forced into prostitution to survive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis. Much of the economic activity in the neighbouring countries has been closed down, and as a result, many Venezuelans, who often work in the informal sector, have lost their incomes and homes. Many of them do not have access to healthcare or education.
Norway has been an important partner to the countries in the region for many years, and provides support for humanitarian action, peace and reconciliation efforts and for sustainable development. Colombia is one of Norway’s partner countries for long-term development cooperation and was the fourth largest recipient of Norwegian development aid in 2019.
Norway emphasizes the importance of finding a lasting political solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
‘Norway will maintain its broad-based engagement and will continue to be a reliable partner to the people and countries of the region. For us, it is crucial that civil society and women are involved in all processes, if we are to achieve durable solutions,’ Ms Hagen said.