UNHCR Reporting on Refugees Media workshop Aruba 2019


Sibylla Brodzinsky, Communications Officer, headquartered in UNHCR Washington, visited Aruba this week to meet with a select group of press members to help them report on refugees, use the correct terms, and be better informed regarding the challenges facing our region.

The upcoming June 20th, is World Refugee Day, and UNHCR, The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, aims to inspire acts of solidarity with refugees all over the world and asks us to join their social media challenge and take a step with refugees.  

Sibylla shared a lot of information with her forum, but added that things change on a daily basis and that the latest global figures will be published June 19th, one day before World Refugee Day and that we will get a copy of the press release and report.

Her presentation briefly touched on the refugee situation in Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. According to UNHCR about 8.8 million people are victims of armed conflicts in Colombia; 7.8 million are internally misplaced having had to leave their villages, or towns; 5,950 were displaced in 2019; 50,532, were Colombian refugees in Ecuador, by the end of 2018; and 10,029 of them asked Ecuador for Asylum, by the end of that year.

The numbers are smaller in Central American countries, but nevertheless of great concern to UNHCR.

Local members of the media were of course interested in Venezuela. According to Sibylla, 3.9 million Venezuelan live abroad; 3.1 million are in Latin America and the Caribbean; 464,229 have registered for asylum in Peru, Brazil and the United states, by the end of 2018.

Our neighbours from the south continue to flee their country at an average of 3,000 to 5,000 a day, and 1.4 million of them managed to get some form of legal stay documents in neighbouring countries.

Globally, over the past four years there were 170,169 asylum seekers registered with UNHCR and 507,353 were lucky to receive some form of protection/alternative legal stay in their region.

The Latest News: The UNHCR is coordinating the R4V platform, for refugee and migrants from Venezuela, go to: https://r4v.info/en/situations/platform

That R4V Response for Venezuelans brings together governments and NGOs, local and international with the objective of coordinating the overall humanitarian response. R4V is headquartered in Port of Spain and has branches in Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao.

Until the end of April 2019, about 146,900 Venezuelans arrived in the Caribbean, since 2015; 12,731 are registered asylum seekers.

The forum then went on to discuss how many of them are living in Aruba, but the number is unclear, and unsubstantiated.  

I wrote about it before, perhaps it is time to conduct a real time survey, get some good data, and develop a local integration plan, the job market could use some helping hands.     


About UNHCR, Established by the UN General Assembly in 1950

UNHCR is neutral, humanitarian and apolitical

Provides protection and assistance to the world’s refugees, internally displaced people and people who are stateless

130 countries, staff of almost 11,000

68.5 million (2017) Total number of men women and children displaced by war, persecution, and discrimination around the world; 25.4 million refugees; 3.1 million asylum-seekers; 40 million IDPs; 10 million stateless people

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June 07, 2019
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