Celebration of the World Refugee Day

20/06/2018

Written by: Americas Network for Refugees Legal Aid

The Americas has been characterized for decades by staying at the forefront in the search for creative solutions to address the problem of forced displacement of people. In this regard, on the occasion of the celebration of World Refugee Day, the Americas Network for Refugee Legal Aid (ANRLA) calls for all actors involved in the protection of displaced persons - States, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and civil society in general - to continue to be compassionate and innovative in our response to the different movements of people that are ongoing in our continent.

The context of our region is currently characterized, among others, by the unprecedented increase in the number of people who have had to leave their homes in search of international protection. The northern triangle of Central America faces situations of large-scale violence as a result of organized crime, as well as poverty and unemployment. Also, the lack of employment, food and medical supplies has caused that more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have had to leave their country. On the other hand, the progressive escalation of violence in the protests in Nicaragua has generated a situation of alert to a new possible massive displacement of people in the region.

Due to the complex context that has caused a significant increase in the number of people forced to leave their homes, ANRLA urges the States of the Americas to continue allowing the displaced population access to their territory and, proactively, adopt pragmatic and appropriate responses that integrate the whole society in the approach to situations of displacement. In this search for solutions, ANRLA considers it essential for the international community to keep its promise of not leaving anyone behind and placing the dignity of the individual in the forefront, allowing it to be the central driver of its resilience.

ANRLA is aware that adequately guaranteeing the human right to seek and enjoy asylum often depends on the newcomers receiving guidance, orientation and legal representation. Likewise, it considers that forming a new generation of specialized professionals in the field of refuge, providing training opportunities for civil society organizations and encouraging regional reflection on the most urgent substantive and procedural issues are fundamental elements to provide an appropriate answer to the growing need of support for refugees and the new questions that arise around the implementation of protection standards.

By virtue of this, from a regional perspective, ANRLA reiterates its commitment to support and facilitate the development, articulation and joint action of organizations dedicated to promoting and defending effective access to rights for asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons or returned, as well as other beneficiaries of an alternative humanitarian and / or complementary protection in the Americas. In this sense, ANRLA will continue to identify gaps in the protection of refugees and reflect on how they can be effectively addressed, as well as determining common priorities in operational activities and developing joint advocacy approaches.

Finally, in celebration of this World Refugee Day, ANRLA urges all people in the American region to be part of the generation that decided to combat racism, discrimination and xenophobia of the displaced population. We invite you to promote empathy, solidarity and tolerance with these vulnerable groups who have had to leave their homes, break their ties with their families and rebuild a new life in another country. Remember our history, not to reiterate the indifferent treatment of the newcomers who preceded them, but to do it better, responding with the love and welcome with which we would like to be received, so that together we can develop a heart for refugees.