OTTAWA, ON, June 17, 2020 – SOS Children’s Villages applauds the Government of Canada’s CAD $115 million investment to respond to the urgent needs of millions of girls and boys on the move in Venezuela and neighbouring countries.
This year’s virtual donor conference, organized by the government of Canada, raised a total of $1.5 billion USD in funding, including $954 million in grants. SOS Children’s Villages welcome Canada’s commitment to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of the most vulnerable Venezuelans in the region, alongside the critical prioritization of education for children in crisis.
Some 5.6 million people have fled Venezuela in recent years, making it the second largest external displacement crisis in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Venezuelans migrating through unauthorized border crossings, exacerbating challenges of protection for children and women.
Children, especially those travelling alone, are at heightened risk of malnutrition, physical violence, sexual exploitation, and forced recruitment by armed groups. Migrant children also have limited access to health services, including prevention and care for COVID-19.
Thomas Bauer, President and CEO of SOS Children’s Villages Canada said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is making a bad situation even worse. The number of children fleeing Venezuela, including unaccompanied and separated children, has grown at an alarming rate. These children are fleeing violence and poverty, but their suffering doesn’t stop at the border. They are among the most vulnerable in the world and we must protect them at all costs.
“We welcome Canada’s continued leadership in refugee protection by hosting this event and committing $115 million to the crisis. Today’s significant investment is essential to saving lives and addressing the immediate and long-term needs of girls and boys fleeing Venezuela.
“However, we wish world leaders, including the Canadian government, acknowledged the unique needs of unaccompanied and separated children. It is estimated that one in four Venezuelan children has become separated from one or both parents.
“There is a lack of child-focused services in the region, particularly to respond to the unique needs of children travelling alone. Now more than ever, we need global leaders like Canada to invest in the expansion of services for the most vulnerable migrants, especially children who are unaccompanied or separated from their families.”
Notes to the editor:
- SOS Children’s Villages is on the ground in the region, addressing the needs of the most vulnerable children and families who are fleeing Venezuela. Learn more about our response here: https://www.soschildrensvillages.ca/emergency/emergency-response-program-colombia
- According to the UN, of the approximately 5.6 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela displaced globally, some 4.6 million are hosted in the region alone, including an estimated 1 million with an irregular status. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/06/1093902
- According to the UNOCHA in 2020, there has been an increase in the reported number of separated and unaccompanied children and adolescents crossing the border through irregular routes. https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/venezuela-bolivarian-republic-of/
- The International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, was hosted by the Canadian government in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), co-leads of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). https://www.international.gc.ca/campaign-campagne/international-donors-internationale-donateurs/index.aspx?lang=eng
- The 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan, which called for $1.35 billion, only raised $666.3 million https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/944/summary
About SOS Children’s Villages
SOS Children’s Villages is an international children's charity that strengthens families and provides them with the tools and resources for their children to thrive. We work in Canada and around the world to ensure children can realize their rights to family, education, protection, and health care, and that their voices are heard. When emergencies strike, we are there to protect children and support families and communities recover and become more resilient.