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Eng
domingo, 16 de diciembre 2018
16/12/2018
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UdeA aids refugees in international protection

 

By Pablo Muñoz – Communications Office


There are big urban challenges in the protection and assistance of around 40,000 Venezuelan migrants—among those that are registered and those that are not—who live in the city of Medellín because of the situation in their country.

 

 

 

Forced Migrations: Duels and Urban Challenges forum

 

 

During the World Refugee Day, held every June 20, the Legal Clinic of Universidad de Antioquia’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences along with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) gathered to commemorate refugees by fostering the analysis and construction of proposals for the appropriate introduction of Venezuelans migrating to Colombia.


The purpose of the Forced Migrations: Duels and Urban Challenges forum was to identify the priorities of the phenomenon and jointly find actual and sustainable solutions, so that migrants can rebuild their lives peacefully and gracefully.


Besem Obenson, coordinator of the UNHCR’s office for Antioquia and Chocó, spoke about the need to work collectively in the search of solutions to the basic problems of the migrant population. She also pointed out that the priority is access to healthcare, jobs, and education for the children.


Astrid Osorio Álvarez, coordinator of the Program of Legal Assistance to People in Need of International Protection of the Legal Clinic of Universidad de Antioquia’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, said that this is a leading university in responding to the migration situation in a comprehensive way.
“Not only are we serving as a bridge for the Venezuelan population, but also we’re supporting the municipal administration; we guide them in the way these processes should be carried out in this contingency,” said Osorio Álvarez.


This event was held by Universidad de Antioquia, with the support of UNHCR and Opción Legal. It had the participation of the Venezuelan Volunteer Network of Medellín, the Institutional Network for the Assistance to People in International Need, and the Medellín Mayor’s Office through the module of assistance to foreigners in social emergency of the Secretariat of Social Inclusion, Family, and Human Rights.

 

 

 

Emilio Gaviria Meléndez, psychosocial professional on the 123 Social phone line of the Medellín Mayor’s Office, explained how the mayor’s office has helped understand the phenomenon of migration to Medellín; specifically, he referred to the lack of information and orientation in this population. Gaviria Meléndez also said that the Medellín Mayor’s Office understands that the need of this population is to become an asset instead of a liability for the society and that, although the emergence is at the assistance stage, the situation is expected to stabilize soon.

 

 


 

 

Obenson addressed positively the assimilation ability of Antioquia’s community to the arrival of the migrant population to the region. She states the reason for this is that a high percentage of Medellín citizens have experienced similar conditions regarding both rural and interurban displacement. “What we have observed in the most popular neighborhoods or where there are victims and displaced people is that they do understand what is like to be the other, what is like to leave their homes and migrate to Medellín,” pointed out Obenson.


The Venezuelan Volunteer Network of Medellín was created thanks to the support of UNHCR. The network aids migrants in terms of human rights, education, migration, and healthcare. Lida Martínez is a professional in the field of dentistry and has been in Medellín for around six months. She is respo

nsible for the healthcare area at the network; she spoke to us about what it means to be a migrant and she addressed not only the difficulties regarding basic subsistence assistance, but also the culture shock migration brings along

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

According to the United Nations, approximately 65.5 million people worldwide today have been forced to abandon their homes to protect their lives and personal freedom.


Based on the presentation of preliminary diagnosis and, subsequently, based on the multidisciplinary teamwork and the experience of attendees, one of the objectives of the forum was to address fundamental topics for the migrant population.


The conclusions of this meeting included the relevance to make progress in the regularization and registration of the migrant population, to be able to identify the barriers as well as the way to overcome them.

 

 

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