PROTECTING MIGRANTS

The Colombian migration plan to one of the largest displaced people in the world

The well-being of human beings is priceless and calls for total solidarity.

In Summary

• Turning one's back on the massive migration of Venezuelans to Colombia with an excuse of addressing dozens of internal problems would be the least consideration, the most unfair and dangerous action to take. 

• For Colombia, receiving more than 1.5 million Venezuelan citizens in a generous way means a monumental effort from a fiscal and institutional point of view

The Ambassador of Colombia to the Government of the Republic of Kenya Mónica De Greiff.
The Ambassador of Colombia to the Government of the Republic of Kenya Mónica De Greiff.
Image: COURTESY

So far, more than 6 million Venezuelans have fled their country, surpassing the number of displaced people in Syria.

 The scourge of forced migration due to hunger, war, social injustice and an uncertain future is a major problem that affects almost the entire world in one way or the other.

The international community, multilateral organizations and especially the supper power nations must accelerate the implementation of robust and comprehensive cooperation programs for those affected countries that receive millions of people fleeing their country of origin / or residence.

It is not just an act of simple generosity, but rather a noble duty in defense of universal human rights.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, unrest became the general norm amongst people, institutions and our leaders.

The very anxiety that produces an uncertain future has been suffered by the displaced people for many years.

Turning one's back on the massive migration of Venezuelans to Colombia with an excuse of addressing dozens of internal problems would be the least consideration, the most unfair and dangerous action to take.

For Colombia, receiving more than 1.5 million Venezuelan citizens in a generous way means a monumental effort from a fiscal and institutional point of view, this is because the well-being of human beings is priceless and calls for total solidarity.

The Government of Colombia, led by the President Mr. Iván Duque Márquez, is much aware of the magnitude of the challenge within the country and within the region but above all to those thousands of men, women and children from Venezuela crossing the border to Colombia each and every single day.

By design therefore, the Government formulated a Temporary Statute: Protecting the Venezuelan Migrants.

This initiative seeks to regularize the migratory situation of Venezuelans who arrived in Colombia before the 31st of January, 2021.

The statute states and advocates that from now henceforth, Venezuelans shall be provided with valuable tools that will enable them to live in better conditions within the territory of Colombia.  

Also, creating an environment for new opportunities such as access to work, education and health. This is even more important considering the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government of Colombia recognizes the migratory history with her neighbor Venezuela, whereby decades ago some thousands of Colombians found good opportunities in Venezuela.

Today, in spite of the internal challenges, and being a middle-income country, Colombia has made institutional and fiscal efforts based on the Temporary Statute: Protecting the Venezuelan Migrants, thus formulating public policies aimed at promoting the integration process.

It is evident that this situation has caused so much pain and suffering to the migrants, and at the same time, a significant negative impact on the Colombian economy.

On the other hand, and according to a study conducted by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it is noted that the identification process, registration and documentation of migrants is not only for the benefit of the same vulnerable population but also for the reduction of soliciting illegal documents.

Furthermore, this adequately helps in putting into place those measures necessary for combating crimes, enabling the Colombian and Venezuelan citizens to naturally exercise their human rights; who for a long period of time have been sharing great ties of brotherhood and Latin American roots.

So yes, as we say in my country; that a legal and orderly migration process "is a good business for everyone".

Mónica De Greiff is the Ambassador of Colombia to the Government of the Republic of Kenya.