Situation of Indigenous Venezuelan Women and Girls in Host Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean – Colombia

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CONFIDENTIAL contributions from the Regional Protection Sector to the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. Mrs. Reem Alsalem

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The Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for the Response to Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela was activated in 2018 at the request of the Secretary-General under the leadership of UNHCR and IOM to ensure an effective and organized response to the Venezuelan crisis in Latin America and in the Caribbean through nine thematic sectors led by UN agencies and NGOs. The regional protection cluster, led by UNHCR and HIAS, brings together 109 organizations in 17 countries in the region aiming to address existing protection gaps and ensure effective access of refugees and migrants to national protection mechanisms.

In 2020, the regional sector identified the most affected populations in the context of COVID-19; Indigenous Venezuelans have been identified as one of the groups absorbing disproportionate impacts related to discrimination, language barriers, lack of technical capacity, visibility, etc.

By 2021 and in coordination with national protection sectors and working groups, the presence of this population group has been confirmed in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean sub-region), Colombia and Brazil. 4 regional consultations with indigenous Venezuelans in these countries were conducted and resulted in the identification of 8 common impact areas of protection: i) access to land and housing, ii) regularization, documentation and international protection, iii ) dual assignment and organized crime, iv) gender-based violence, v) people at high risk and belonging to specific groups, vi) livelihoods and education, vii) durable solutions, viii) xenophobia and discrimination.

As agreed with the indigenous representatives and by the end of 2021, the Sector has organized 9 national thematic sessions in the 4 countries to identify concrete impacts and proposals in each of the 8 common areas identified at the regional level. The proposals made by 135 delegates who participated in these sessions were presented to the special rapporteurs of the IACHR and the UNSRs during a high-level forum organized on November 30, 2021.

This contribution brings together the concrete impacts and protection gaps identified by indigenous Venezuelans during the national sessions, more specifically related to gender-based violence, dual assignment and organized crime, xenophobia and discrimination.

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