OAS creates Working Group on Venezuela

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro speaks to the media during a news conference at the 45th OAS General Assembly in Washington.
Associated Press / Jacquelyn Martin, File

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has announced the creation of a Working Group on Venezuela after the OAS Permanent Council analyzed at a special meeting “the migration crisis stemming from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

“There are millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country with the hope of reestablishing their most basic rights. No country can face this wave of migrants and refugees in isolation,” said Almagro, who requested the meeting on Wednesday.

“The approach must be collective following the principle of shared responsibility,” he said, stating that the Working Group, which will analyze the migration issue of Venezuela, will be chaired by exiled Venezuelan politician David Smolansky.

At the meeting, the OAS said the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), María Claudia Pulido, referred to the measures that the IACHR recommends as a humanitarian response to the “serious crisis that has forced the migration of thousands of Venezuelans in recent months”.

“The crisis has a cross-border scope that requires a regional response based on respect for human rights,” she said. “The OAS and the Member States cannot remain unmoved by the many forms of suffering experienced by Venezuelans.”

President of the Migration Policy Institute, Andrew Seele, said that although Venezuelan migration is not the only one in the region, it is the “most worrying” one.

“We are at the beginning of the migratory flow and not at the end,” he said. “There are strong reasons to believe that the Venezuelans who have left will not return any time soon to their country, and we must be prepared, since many more will leave,” he said.

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