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Lima Group Press Release

19 May, 2018

In the face of recent statements made by the President of Venezuela, in which he stated that there was no migration crisis in his country, the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia expressed that:

The deterioration of the economic, social and humanitarian situation in Venezuela has led to a massive increase in Venezuelan migration in the last two years, especially in the countries of the region.

Even though the majority of Venezuelan migrants initially go to neighboring countries, there has also been a significant increase in transit migration in these countries in order to reach other destinations.

Official figures show that between 2017 and 2018 approximately 82,000 Venezuelans migrated to Argentina; approximately 50,000 to Brazil; 800,000 to Colombia; approximately 4,000 to Costa Rica; over 160,000 to Chile; 15,650 to Guatemala; 65,784 to Mexico; 65,415 to Panama; 2,893 to Paraguay; and 298,559 to Peru.

These figures are consistent with the estimates made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which indicate, respectively, that between 1,500,000 and 1,600,000 Venezuelans had left their country by the end of 2017.

This has resulted in a number of challenges for the recipient countries in different areas such as humanitarian and health, including malnutrition and the re-emergence of diseases that were already eradicated or under control. Also, capacities to provide basic services such as access to education and child protection, among others, face serious challenges.

For all these reasons, the countries of the Lima Group reiterate their willingness and commitment to provide assistance and protection to Venezuelans, as well as support to those who remain in that country, and they strongly reiterate their request to establish mechanisms for humanitarian access to address this sensitive situation.

We also call on Venezuela to urgently establish a system for the exchange of epidemiological information with neighbouring countries in order to coordinate efforts to contain diseases, especially in border areas.

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