Canada signs pact with local organisation to tackle abuse of Venezuelan migrant girls and women

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Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman and Country Director for HIAS, Alex Theran

The High Commission of Canada together with HIAS Guyana will execute a migrant programme aimed at increasing protection and awareness of vulnerable Venezuelan women and adolescent girls in Guyana.

On Tuesday, the Canadian High Commission signed an agreement for the initiation of the project which will be executed by HIAS Guyana under the title “Increasing protection and awareness for vulnerable Venezuelan women and adolescent girls in Guyana who are survivors or at-risk of gender-based violence (GBV).”

The Canadian High Commission, in a statement, explained that the project aims to address some of the needs of the Venezuelan migrant population in local communities, specifically with a focus on providing gender-based violence prevention and responsive services to migrant women and girls currently residing in Port Kaituma, Georgetown and Bartica.

Canadian High Commissioner Mark K. Berman pointed out that there are over 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left or fled their homes since 2015, with over 4.6 million remaining in the region.

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He shared that on a large scale Canada is supporting the migrant population by hosting the next International Donors’ Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

This, he said, is being done in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and that Guyana will also be a participant in the conference.

At the conference, Canada will be collaborating with various partners to bring forward the voices of those affected by the crisis with the objective of highlighting the progress achieved to date, raising awareness of key opportunities and priorities including the impact on women and girls, mobilizing additional resources and identifying future actions to maintain focus on the crisis. Funding from the 2020 International Donors’ Conference provided food, health, protection and cash based assistance to the Venezuelan migrants and refugees including women and girls. Due to the crisis, many of the migrants are placed in vulnerable situations.

High Commissioner Berman in his remarks noted that the needs are growing for the Venezuelan migrant community and the partnership with HIAS in Guyana is timely given the global call for support.

“The Government of Canada, through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, is thrilled to be associated with this project.  I am also pleased that our government has contributed in a very tangible way to supporting the Venezuelan migrant communities in Guyana.  I must commend HIAS Guyana for the valuable work being undertaken,” he said.

This new project being undertaken in Guyana will work to provide services to migrant women, adolescent girls and LGBTQI+ identified survivors of gender based violence. The needs of these individuals will be assessed to provide psychosocial support, legal assistance and the implementation of an action plan for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the cases.

Through the project, dignity kits (hygiene and self care products) will also be distributed to the women, girls and other gender-based violence survivors to promote physical wellbeing, alleviate family budget constraints and ensure they can move around despite their periods. The kits will also include health and protection information which will raise awareness on hygiene, reproductive health and gender-based violence.

In her remarks, Country Director for HIAS, Alex Theran, thanked Canada for its support of the project and said “The responsibility of hosting people who have been displaced from another country is a responsibility for the whole world and it really gives me a lot of hope when I see incredible countries such as Canada who have a strong track record of supporting refugees and displaced people, stepping up and supporting women and girls here in Guyana”.

The project will be executed over the course of one year.



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