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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article5 December 2022Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)2 min read

EU and Canada to co-host the next International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants

Silhouettes of a row of men agains a sunset
© European Union, 2020 (photographer: Santiago Arcos Veintimilla)

The outflow of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is currently one of the world’s largest displacement crises, with more than 7.1 million people having fled or left their country. The current global context, and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have compounded an already difficult situation for Venezuelan refugees, migrants and their host communities—particularly women and girls.

On 16 and 17 March 2023, Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, will co-host the International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants and their Host Countries and Communities.

The conference will be organised in close collaboration with the UNHCR—the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), co-leads of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, as well as key host countries and partners.

Canada and the EU are calling on the international community to maintain the visibility of this crisis, and to continue to support host countries in the Latin America and Caribbean regions that are undertaking significant efforts to welcome and integrate Venezuelan refugees and migrants in their communities, economies and societies.

The conference will bring host and donor governments together, as well as other key actors in the response, including from international organisations, civil society, international financial institutions and the private sector. It will also benefit from the participation of affected Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

The conference will be an opportunity to:

  • reflect on progress made to date in the response
  • raise awareness of ongoing challenges, priorities and opportunities
  • mobilise additional support
  • identify actions to maintain focus and visibility on the crisis.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The Venezuelan crisis is not only a country-specific emergency. It affects the whole Latin America and Caribbean region on several levels. European humanitarian aid aims to tackle the crisis at various levels, through cross-sectoral interventions, supporting also the host communities of Venezuelans in neighbouring countries. The EU has been there for the people of Venezuela and will continue to galvanise international support for a crisis representing one of the biggest displacement emergencies in the world.”

Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, Harjit S. Sajjan, said: “Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to show leadership in hosting and integrating Venezuelan refugees and migrants, but their capacity and resources are stretched. It is essential for the international community to share in this responsibility, and to show solidarity with those affected. Canada’s role within this Conference is a reflection of the importance we place on this issue, not just for our hemisphere but for the world.”

Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, Eduardo Stein, said: “As the world faces numerous humanitarian crises, Venezuelans and their host communities must not be forgotten. Host countries have shown continued leadership in responding to the crisis by establishing regularisation initiatives and facilitating access to health, education and other social services, as well as economic integration. However, their capacities are stretched and require urgent international support.”