Within the framework of what’s established in the Glossary on Migration No. 7 of the International Organization for Migration, voluntary repatriation or voluntary return is “the independent or assisted return to the country of origin, transit or to a third country based on the free will of the person who returns. ”
Return is one of the constituent parts of migration, often being the final process of people who decided to leave their countries of origin.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the host countries’ political and economic situation have determined that many migrants and refugees make the decision to return to their countries, particularly in recent months, which has been possible thanks to strong cooperation between host, transit and destination countries, with special attention to border management.
However, due to the restrictive measures that Venezuela has adopted with respect to the return of its nationals, added to the national sanitary measures of each country which are not always in coherence at the regional level, some Venezuelan migrants take the decision to return in adverse conditions, through unauthorized entry / exit steps, exposing themselves to trafficking networks, sexual exploitation, in addition to the risks associated with their health and well-being.
In this sense, actions were taken to rely on the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify the mechanisms through which people can return to their country of origin in the context of the pandemic and to be a liaison with the competent authorities in the matter, in the different transit countries.
The need arises to include the “sustainable” component in the return of Venezuelan migrants, so that they have the possibility of reintegrating holistically into society and in a multidimensional way. Otherwise, after the COVID-19 crisis, a new departure from Venezuela could occur for those people who decided to return in the midst of the pandemic.
The Joint Declaration of Chapter VI concluded that the return must be voluntary, and that in order to occur, there must be collaboration with international organizations. The declaration also emphasized the need for economic resources for transportation, food and shelter, working on the sustainability of the measures and the importance of intersectoral work instances.
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