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The primary goal: protecting children and adolescents

The primary goal: protecting children and adolescents

Colombia, with the support of UNICEF, is promoting the ‘Regional cooperation for the comprehensive protection of Venezuelan migrant and refugee children and adolescents’.

Of the total number of refugees and migrants who have left Venezuela for other Latin American and Caribbean countries, 2.1 million are children and adolescents who require protection and access to basic services.

Under the thematic axis Protection for Girls, Boys and Adolescents, with Colombia as the champion country and with the accompaniment of UNICEF as the lead agency, the risks that this population runs are being recalled, as well as the need to have harmonized guidelines to respond to their needs. Likewise, work is being done to learn about good practices in the region and to invite all member countries to complete the format of the Operational Guide "Regional cooperation for the comprehensive protection of Venezuelan migrant and refugee children and adolescents."

During the good practices meeting session, the Chilean experience was discussed, in the voice of Martina Strobel, coordinator of SENAME in Chile, who pointed out the advances in the matter of family reunification; Colombia's participation focused on its route of unaccompanied Venezuelan children and adolescents, thanks to the presentation of Irene Lerma, advisor to the ICBF. The International Committee of the Red Cross also participated, making reference to the search, reestablishment of contact, maintenance and family reunification in the context of migration, the presentation was led by the regional advisers Oliver Bush and Susana López.

Ecuador, through the counselor Diana Veloz, director of Inclusion to the Foreign Community of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in turn, presented the campaign Un solo rumbo, for the inclusion of people in a condition of human mobility. Also from Ecuador, Diego Jaramillo, from the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, explained the attention service o to the population in a situation of human mobility in vulnerable situations, with a special focus on children and adolescents and their families.

Peru, in the voice of Oscar Alva Arias, General Director of Girls, Boys and Adolescents of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, deepened in turn on good practices for the care of unaccompanied or separated migrant children in situations where they lack the protection of family. Finally, Costa Rica presented its protocol on regularization and access to education, through the intervention of Rosibel Vargas, from the Migration Management area.

Among the opportunities and challenges of the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan migrants under the temporary protection regime for children and adolescents, Guadalupe Arbeláez, head of the Colombian Migration Legal Advisory Office, recounted measures taken by Colombia.

Lastly, the UNICEF official, Ana Catalina Fernández, invited to fill out the Operational Guide for the Exchange of information, with the aim of creating practical lines to protect refugee and migrant children and adolescents from Venezuela in the different countries of the region.

The workshop's general conclusions were:

  • Formalize a network of focal points per country for cooperation proposals.
  • Start the process of exchanging good practices and lessons learned.
  • Analyze the file on information exchange procedures validated by the Member States.
  • Recognize the protection of refugee and unaccompanied migrant children as a primary interest of the countries of the region and highlight the creation or adaptation of public policies and regulations to protect them.


Learn more about Protection of Children and Adolescents.