EU-CELAC Summit: HIAS Calls for Renewed Commitments to Support Forcibly Displaced People
Jul 17, 2023
BRUSSELS/PANAMA CITY – As European Union (EU) leaders commit to renewed cooperation with countries in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), HIAS calls for strengthened efforts to ensure meaningful protection and sustainable inclusion for the more than 20 million forcibly displaced people across the LAC region. Efforts to protect those forced to flee should be at the forefront of the “new era for relations” pledged at the 2023 EU-CELAC Summit, a gathering to revitalise this significant partnership.
Displacement across the Americas is rising to levels never seen before. According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, the region already hosts 16% of all people forced to flee worldwide. This unprecedented human upheaval is driven by human rights violations, political instability, climate change-related risks, and economic hardship, among other factors. These risks are intensifying across the region, exacerbating the challenges that both displaced people and host communities already face.
“Several countries in the region have demonstrated commendable solidarity and offered critical support. Yet, the existing resources of these states are insufficient to foster a sustainable future for refugees. Beyond immediate assistance to people in need, we also need a holistic, integration-focused approach – that considers both displaced persons and host communities – to truly respond to forced displacement,” said Cristina Garcia, HIAS Senior Vice President for LAC. “By doing so, we create more inclusive and resilient societies, where displaced individuals contribute to the overall well-being and development of host communities.”
As the EU-CELAC Summit begins, HIAS calls upon the EU and Member States to show solidarity with forcibly displaced people across LAC via the following actions:
- A sustained political and financial investment in displaced people’s futures.
- By investing in essential services for refugees and migrants – including education, healthcare, housing, and livelihood opportunities – the EU and Member States can promote self-reliance and economic inclusion, foster social cohesion, and relieve pressure on host communities. The diversification of EU cooperation and financing mechanisms in LAC is critical to bolstering refugee resilience and ensuring sustainable local integration.
- Reinforced cooperation to ensure a coordinated approach to managing mixed flows.
- The EU and Member States should advocate for coordinated approaches among the LAC governments, EU donor entities, UN agencies, and NGOs involved in managing mixed flows. Strengthening effective mechanisms for dialogue, information sharing, and joint decision-making is essential to address the complexities and challenges posed by mixed flows.
- Aid and diplomacy to prevent deaths and disappearances along migration routes.
- The EU and Member States should promote interinstitutional cooperation to prevent loss of life and disappearances along dangerous routes. This will involve improved government collaboration in the region, enhanced respect for human rights in border management, and an increased role for the Inter-American Human Rights System. Via aid and diplomacy, the EU and Member States can promote actions that reduce the risks and vulnerabilities faced by refugees and migrants, protect their human rights, and promote safer migration pathways.
True EU partnership on forced displacement in LAC will be critical to ensuring sustainable solutions that promote the well-being and resilience of refugees and migrants. As the new era begins, we look forward to seeing EU leadership towards an inclusive and prosperous future for people displaced across the region.
Ilan Cohn, Director, HIAS Europe
Cristina Garcia, Senior Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean