Responding to the news that the National Government of Colombia will create a Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan migrants for 10 years, Debora Cobar, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for child rights and humanitarian organisation Plan International, said:
“This is a hugely welcome move that will improve the lives and rights of more than 1,729,000 migrants and refugees who currently live in Colombia*. Crucially, it will allow girls and their families much easier access to key services such as health and education, and allow them to access formal employment."
A benchmark for governments in the region
“This measure makes Colombia a benchmark for governments in the region and represents a breakthrough for human rights, as well as an embodiment of solidarity as set out by the Global Compact on Refugees. It will have a direct and life-changing impact on thousands of children, who make up 28% of the Venezuelan migrant population in Colombia.
We invite other governments in the region to take similar measures to transform the lives of millions of refugees and migrants
“It will reduce their vulnerability and exposure to risks such as violence and exploitation, allowing access to regular documentation and affirming their rights. By improving job security, it will also allow those who have fled Venezuela’s economic and political crisis to integrate more easily into Colombian society, creating a more inclusive, peaceful and diverse society.
“We hope that this move will be followed by increased resources from the international community. It is also important not to forget that host communities in Colombia have also been deeply affected by the pandemic. Policies and programming initiatives should also include comprehensive solutions that benefit refugees, migrants, and nationals.
“We invite other governments in the region to take similar measures to transform the lives of millions of refugees and migrants, building the foundations for peaceful and equitable coexistence.”
*Colombian Migration Agency figure from December 31, 2020