FAAE Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du développement international
For immediate release
The Migration Crisis and the Situation in Venezuela
Ottawa, December 03, 2018 -
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development held a special hearing on the crisis that is being fuelled by Venezuela’s descent into authoritarianism and the country’s collapsing economy.
With the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees reaching more than 3 million, the situation in Venezuela has become one of regional and global concern. The remarkable generosity of neighbouring countries, who have opened their doors to those fleeing from fear and want, is being strained as the crisis becomes protracted and the resources of host communities are depleted.
A regional crisis should, by definition, be met with a regional response that does not leave any host state overwhelmed. The Committee was pleased to hear of efforts underway to coordinate support for Venezuelan migrants and refugees and their host countries on the part of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Committee believes that the Government of Canada should continue to be a strong partner in those efforts.
Alleviating the humanitarian burden on Venezuela’s neighbours will ultimately require a political solution within Venezuela itself. In the wake of the widely discredited presidential election in May 2018, the Maduro regime has lost any remaining veneer of democratic legitimacy. Testimony gathered by the OAS revealed how murders, torture, imprisonment and persecution have been perpetrated against the civilian population, “and in particular against anyone calling for the respect of civil, political and economic rights and a return to the constitutional order in Venezuela.” The scale and gravity of human rights abuses in Venezuela was reflected in the decision taken by Canada and five other regional governments to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court, calling for an investigation of crimes against humanity.
The Maduro regime has presided over an economic collapse that has been characterized by hyperinflation and the shortage of food and medicine. At the same time, national institutions are breaking down or have become deeply politicized. Venezuelans deserve a government that is able and willing to meet their needs and respect their democratic will, and one that adheres to international standards. The Committee is of the view that the Government of Canada should continue to apply diplomatic pressure on the Maduro regime, in concert with Canada’s regional allies, until genuine democracy takes hold in Venezuela.
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