Almost 2,000 Venezuelan refugees murdered in Colombia in five years, NGO says

AFP
Bogota Published: Jun 24, 2021, 11:31 AM(IST)

Almost 2,000 Venezuelan refugees murdered in Colombia in five years, NGO says Photograph:( AFP )

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"While the national murder rate has been decreasing steadily... the murder rate of the Venezuelan population has grown and is 2.8 times higher," said Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) in a report.

At least 1,933 Venezuelan migrants were killed in Colombia between 2015 and 2020, and another 836 are "considered missing," a Colombian NGO said Wednesday. 

"While the national murder rate has been decreasing steadily... the murder rate of the Venezuelan population has grown and is 2.8 times higher," said Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) in a report.

In a report on the situation based on official figures and complaints collected by the organization, the NGO said that "the irregular situation of a significant part of the population...has led them to face discrimination, xenophobia or stigmatization." 

Nearly six million people have fled Venezuela, which has been in recession for eight years, and the country plunged into political crisis in January 2019 when opposition leader Juan Guaido, who was a parliamentary speaker at the time, declared himself acting president after Nicolas Maduro claimed a re-election victory widely condemned internationally as fraudulent.

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Some 1.8 million of those Venezuelan refugees are in Colombia, which began granting official residency to almost a million of them in March. 

The government hopes to deliver a document by the end of the year that gives undocumented migrants a period of 10 years to acquire a resident visa. 

Colombia and Venezuela have no diplomatic relations and share a porous border of about 1,400 miles (2,200 kilometres). 

The NGO also warned about the sexual violence being perpetrated against the migrant population: 2,319 Venezuelans, mostly underage girls, suffered sexual attacks between 2015 and 2020.

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