As more Venezuelan migrants continue to flee that neighbouring country, Guyana is getting help on how to deal with the situation.
Yesterday, as Government continue to come to grips with the situation, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in collaboration with the Department of Citizenship and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), conducted a workshop aimed at training service providers on international best practice in assisting migrants and protecting them from abuse and/or exploitation of any kind.
The workshop was held in the conference room of the CDC’s Thomas Lands office.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency, having regards to the fact that the issue of migration from Venezuela is a new and emerging challenge for Guyana, the Multi-Sectoral Committee, which was established by the Government to coordinate the national response and assistance, saw the need for capacity building within the said Committee to better equip representatives and agencies to respond effectively to this and other such occurrences in the future.
The workshop saw the participation of representatives from the Ministry of the Presidency, Guyana Defence Force, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guyana Police Force, Ministry of Communities, the Immigration Department, the Pan-American Health Organisation, Ministry of Public Health, United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The sessions, which were facilitated by IOM’s Regional Coordination Officer, Robert Natiello and Programme Officer, Argentina Santacruz, dealt with issues such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling, migrants’ vulnerabilities, and direct assistance and referral systems for migrants.
In Region One, which borders with Venezuela, several hundred migrants have been crossing into Guyana, with many living in dire conditions.
Government has been shifting food and other supplies to the area but there is growing worry over a situation quickly spiraling out of control. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have been receiving Venezuelans by the thousands with those countries mulling and taking action to control the situation. According to local authorities, more than 1,500 Venezuelans have been treated by health officials in recent months in Region One.
The Venezuelans in Guyana are said to be mainly indigenous citizens of that neighbouring country, mainly from the Warrau tribe. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of Venezuelans in the city also.
Government has announced plans to build a settlement in Region One to accommodate the migrants who are here. Security along the borders have also been beefed up. Decades ago, thousands of Guyanese had migrated to Venezuela, building homes and new families. That country is facing major problems with its economy now, fuelled by the falling oil prices a few years ago.
It is now facing runaway inflation, long lines for basic items, medicines and protests.
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