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The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean must not impose barriers that hinder the entry of people fleeing the human rights crisis in Venezuela, nor return anyone to that country given the risk they run of suffering human rights violations, said Amnesty International today on the launch of its Welcome Venezuela campaign.

“When denouncing the very serious crisis afflicting Venezuela, the states of our region must be consistent in their words and guarantee to protect all those fleeing the country. The ‘Welcome Venezuela’ campaign is our way of recognizing the serious nature of the human rights violations that are a daily occurrence in Venezuela and of reiterating our commitment to the victims, both inside and outside the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“Venezuelans require international protection. They must be able to request refugee status or other alternative mechanisms to regularize their stay without restriction or delay, and they must have access to health services, education, work and other public services without discrimination. They must under no circumstances be returned to Venezuela.”

The human rights crisis in Venezuela continues to increase and deepen, affecting the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of millions of people. According to the UN, 3.7 million people have left Venezuela in the last few years, and at least 7 million are now in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country.

With the launch of Welcome Venezuela, Amnesty International is highlighting the fact that the crisis requires immediate action to address the most urgent needs of the people in Venezuela. Any solution or action to tackle the crisis must be consistent with international obligations to respect and protect human rights and the victims must always remain the focus of the discussions.

The leaders of the region’s other countries must support efforts to ensure access to justice and accountability for the human rights crisis and recognize the rights of people fleeing Venezuela in search of international protection.

States have a duty to protect human rights by seeking solutions under the principle of shared responsibility, as reflected in the Quito Process and its Action Plan as well as the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela proposed by the interinstitutional platform coordinated by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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