UNHCR and UAE sign an agreement worth US$ 2 million in support of the Venezuelan situation in Colombia
29 June 2021
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the United Arab Emirates have signed a US$ 2 million agreement to support more than 26 thousand Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees, internally displaced persons, and host communities in Colombia.
The agreement was signed by Jozef Merkx, UNHCR Representative in Colombia, and His Excellency Salem Rashid Al Owais, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, in the presence of Her Excellency Marta Lucia Ramirez, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital, Bogota.
Through this contribution, UNHCR and its partners will be able to carry out empowerment initiatives and provide critical protection assistance, particularly to women, gender-based-violence survivors, children and youth. The contribution also aims to scale up emergency shelter and reception capacities for new arrivals at border areas between Colombia and Venezuela, and community centres for internally displaced persons.
“UNHCR appreciates today’s donation by the UAE, that comes at a critical time for our operations in Colombia, which is facing a dire funding gap, and will certainly support our efforts to address the most urgent needs of displaced Venezuelans and host communities in Colombia. This contribution demonstrates UAE’s historical commitment towards supporting UNHCR’s operation and the most effected population worldwide” said Nadia Jbour, Head of UNHCR’s office in the UAE.
On this occasion, His Excellency Salem Rashid Al Owais, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, said: "The UAE, with significant and sustained support from its wise leadership, affirms its unwavering humanitarian position on refugee issues around the world and commitment towards working to improve their humanitarian and living conditions, both through direct support and cooperation with specialized UN bodies and organizations such as UNHCR.” He added: "The aim of UAE support provided today is to improve the humanitarian conditions and livelihoods of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, especially in such difficult conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated challenges in the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
His Excellency explained that the UAE has supported the Women’s House initiative by Her Excellency Marta Lucia Ramirez, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia. This initiative is an important space for social transformation and contributes to promoting women's economic independence, job creation, productive participation, and access to training programs, in addition to providing a wide range of comprehensive services that guarantee the protection and rights of Colombian women. The Women's House, built by the state through the UNHCR in Colombia, will provide a special helpline for Venezuelan immigrant women in order to enable them to adapt to the new needs of the labor market in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Colombia is the country most impacted by the arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, currently hosting over 1.7 million Venezuelans. Despite its generosity, the country is facing enormous challenges to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs of refugees and migrants, while battling through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, those internally displaced continue in need of assistance and durable solutions. In Colombia, UNHCR collaborates with government institutions and local authorities to strengthen protection capacities, respond to basic needs, and work towards sustainable livelihoods and peacebuilding. UNHCR also coordinates with other UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations to deliver a comprehensive and sectorized response to refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees, host communities and internally displaced persons.
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future.