GENEVA / VENEZUELA REFUGEES

08-Mar-2019 00:01:50
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, announced on Friday that it has opened a reception centre in Colombia for the most vulnerable Venezuelans crossing the border. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / VENEZUELA REFUGEES
TRT: 1:50
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 8 MARCH 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations.
2. Wide shot, United Nations Geneva press room.
3. Medium shot, journalists.
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“A significant number of Venezuelans in Maicao are living on the streets or in informal settlements and 81 per cent of those interviewed said that they required shelter.”
5. Med shot, journalists.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“No, it should not be considered as a refugee camp, it’s not a camp, it is a transit facility, it’s a reception centre which will basically serve to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable categories of those who might be crossing. That may involve unaccompanied children, children who may have been separated from their families, vulnerable women, people who have disabilities, and so on. It is not meant to provide a permanent shelter on the long-term basis.”
11. Close up, journalists, profile.
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“On average, we still see that about 5,000 people cross into the neighbouring countries, and from those neighbouring countries then proceed into other nations in the region. Those numbers obviously fluctuate, but this is the average that we have been seeing for quite some time.”
13. Med shot, journalists, profile.
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Over 3.4 million Venezuelans are living abroad, of whom 2.7 million have left the country since 2015. Colombia is the country that is most affected by the outflow, with over 1.1 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants.”
14. Close up, press release.
15. Med shot, podium speakers.
16. Med shot, journalists, podium.
17. Med shot, hands typing on laptops, profile.
STORYLINE
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, announced on Friday that it has opened a reception centre in Colombia for the most vulnerable Venezuelans crossing the border.

Thousands of Venezuelans are still leaving the country every day amid a grave socio-economic crisis and UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said that many of them live on the streets in neighbouring Colombia.

“It’s a reception centre which will basically serve to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable categories of those who might be crossing. That may involve unaccompanied children, children who may have been separated from their families, vulnerable women, people who have disabilities, and so on. It is not meant to provide a permanent shelter on a long-term basis.”

Colombia hosts more than one million Venezuelans and UNHCR says that despite the authorities’ generosity and open-border policy, humanitarian needs are overwhelming.

The new facility in the border city of Maicao in La Guajira region has space for 350 people, but could expand in future. It will provide shelter, food, water, basic medical care, and other services in the centre, on a short-term basis.

“A significant number of Venezuelans in Maicao are living on the streets or in informal settlements and 81 per cent of those interviewed said that they required shelter,” Mahecic told journalists.

This year, the UN agency is appealing for more than $730 million to help more than nearly three million Venezuelans and host communities in 16 countries.

“On average, we still see that about 5,000 people cross into the neighbouring countries, and from those neighbouring countries then proceed into other nations in the region,” Mahecic said. “Those numbers obviously fluctuate, but this is the average that we have been seeing for quite some time.”

To complement Colombia’s efforts to provide international protection to those arriving at the border, UNHCR continues to scale up shelter, legal advice and access to basic services for people in “dire” need.

“Over 3.4 million Venezuelans are living abroad, of whom 2.7 million have left the country since 2015,” Mahecic said. “Colombia is the country that is most affected by the outflow, with over 1.1 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants.”

The development coincides with the announcement that a UN human rights team will begin an official visit to Venezuela on Monday, at the invitation of the Government. Potentially, the move paves the way for an official mission there by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, whose office said in a statement that it is standard practice for a technical team to be deployed ahead of a possible visit by her, in order to ensure that the High Commissioner would have “unfettered access to the people and places she would need to visit to be able to gain a clear understanding of the human rights situation in the country”.
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