Save the Children welcomes the Government of Canada’s support for millions of people affected by the crisis in Venezuela. A deepening economic, political and humanitarian situation in the Latin American country has forced over 3 million people to flee since 2015, in search of food, health care and other basic services.
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of $52.89 million for an integrated stabilization, humanitarian and development response effort. These funds will also support neighbouring countries dealing with the influx of refugees and migrants.
“Save the Children commends the Canadian government for prioritizing the needs of those hardest hit by the crisis in Venezuela and the region,” said Bill Chambers, President and CEO of Save the Children. “This leadership could not come at a more critical time, as thousands of families continue to flee the country.”
Critically, a portion of the government’s nearly $53 million is earmarked to help address the immediate needs of those fleeing for safety. This includes the health needs of women and girls, who face gender-based barriers to accessing health services while on the move. Recent assessments by Save the Children also highlight the increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) faced by women and girls while in displacement in this crisis. Save the Children teams in Colombia have documented reports of women and adolescent girls who have:
- been exposed to SGBV or have been economically exploited in order to cross the border;
- engaged in commercial sex as a survival strategy;
- suffered from increased domestic violence;
- been sexually exploited/abused by security forces/armed groups in exchange for being allowed to remain in Colombia.
The Canadian funding will also address girls’ education during the crisis, in a welcome step to push forward implementation of Canada’s G7 education commitment.
“Canada’s commitment to girls’ education in crisis and conflict, has the potential to rewrite the future of some of the world’s most vulnerable girls,” said Chambers. “This welcome commitment reflects the voices of girls and boys themselves, who have identified education among their top needs during times of crisis. Ultimately, education is both a protection tool during crises, and a way of ensuring a better immediate reality and future for boys and girls.”
Save the Children supports Canada’s push for accountability in the Venezuela crisis to hold perpetrators to account. In this regard, we welcome the dedicated funding to support monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation, and hope this can include monitoring and reporting on violations committed against, or in relation to children.
For additional information please contact Mai Habib:
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