AMERICA/BRAZIL - "Misión frontera Venezuela" begins: listening to immigrants fleeing from Venezuela

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Avener Prado/Folhapress

Boa Vista (Agenzia Fides) - "In the last 45 days more than 18,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Roraima, it is estimated that between 300 and 400 people arrive every day, all in need of information and with a great desire to continue their lives with dignity. They leave Venezuela because of a humanitarian necessity, and it is our duty to reach out to them and welcome them". Thus Mgr. Mário Antônio da Silva, Bishop of Roraima, comments on the meetings that as from today, March 1, a group of 19 people will carry out in the area of Boa Vista and Pacaraima, in the state of Roraima. According to the information sent to Agenzia Fides, the initiative, which will take place until 4 March under the name "Misión frontera Venezuela", is coordinated by the Episcopal Commission to tackle human trafficking (CEPEETH), of the Bishops' Conference of Brazil (CNBB).
The Commission will try to know the situation experienced by Venezuelan migrants who are fleeing the political and economic crisis that their country is going through and seek help in Brazilian territory. "The visit will be a point of support and also an important reflection to be able to carry out new projects and help, together with the rulers, to meet the needs of this population", continues the Bishop, who adds: "it is dramatic to see that Venezuelans come to our state in need of food, help, hospitality and even integration into the labor market. "This is why the Pastoral Care of Migrants together with the Social Pastoral Care - Caritas and the Center for the orientation of migrants and human rights are trying to do everything possible to help them.
Among the activities that the commission has scheduled there are visits to various places of reception and parishes, such as that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where 900 meals are served a day; meetings with local and border organizations, with UNHCR and other UN institutions, as well as with representatives of the state government, among others. Furthermore, a document of analysis and proposals will be prepared on the contribution that the Church can offer regarding incidence, assistance and the denunciation of the situation.
In this period the ecclesial communities, in their various expressions (religious institutes, parishes, lay associations ...) have promoted a series of reception and support activities for Venezuelans, but the decisive action of the government is needed to adopt the appropriate measures in order to manage a migration phenomenon of this size (see Fides 26/1/2018; 10/2/2018; 14/2/2018).
Roraima, with 350 thousand inhabitants, already welcomes 40 thousand Venezuelans, according to the data of the City Council. It is estimated that the figure will increase to 55 thousand by next July.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that some 24,000 Venezuelans have sought refuge in Brazil up till now. (LG) (Agenzia Fides, 1/3/2018)