I would like to thank the European Union, Spain, UNHCR, and the IOM for convening this important conference.
As the world comes together to battle COVID-19, it is more important than ever for us to demonstrate the values of solidarity and humanity. We know that the impact of this crisis will not fall equally, but will disproportionally impact those already suffering from humanitarian crises, including in situations of displacement, conflict or natural disaster.
Our focus today is on the millions of women, men and children who have been compelled to flee their homes. The conditions that they face are incredibly challenging, and their lives have been made all the more precarious by the impact of the pandemic. Our thoughts are also with the millions of people within Venezuela itself, many of whom are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Covid-19 has made the situation worse for Venezuelans, both inside and outside their country. Food security and access to basic livelihoods have further seriously worsened in a matter of weeks. I want to commend the solidarity and generosity of neighbouring countries, who continue to offer refuge to Venezuelan people in their time of need. But it is not for them alone to address this crisis. Global partners, including the EU, need to work together to find a way to reach political transition to a peaceful, negotiated and democratic solution owned by the people of Venezuela and towards a peaceful electoral path. In parallel, efforts need to focus on how to reach agreement to enable increased humanitarian assistance to reach those in need inside Venezuela. Ireland fully aligns itself with the EU’s statement of 3 April.
We continue to witness solidarity from the many committed humanitarian actors who are providing vital assistance in often difficult conditions. We must collectively support them in their efforts. Efforts also need to focus on how to reach agreement to enable increased humanitarian assistance to reach those in need inside Venezuela.
Ireland will provide €1 million in funding to UNHCR for their work under the regional response plan for Refugees and Migrants. This is in addition to Ireland’s core funding to the global humanitarian system, including over €20 million in core support to UNHCR, IOM, the ICRC and the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund.
Ireland is also taking part in the Team Europe response to Covid-19, which in Venezuela and the region is tackling the aggravated situation created by the pandemic.
I would like to assure you of Ireland’s continued support as we seek to collectively address this dire humanitarian emergency.