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Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
I thank the European Union, the Government of Spain, UNHCR and the IOM for their leadership in hosting this meeting.
The Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis is the most serious of its kind in the modern history of Latin America. The countries in the region have shown remarkable solidarity with the millions of Venezuelans who have had to flee from their country and seek new shelter.
The situation calls for strong regional and international cooperation to protect and promote the human rights of the Venezuelan migrants. The COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to an even more desperate humanitarian situation.
The challenges are immense: inadequate sanitation and access to health care, lack of sufficient water and food, threat of violence and discrimination. We need to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable groups, such as women, girls and persons with disabilities.
Finland strongly supports the joint EU position underlining that a long-term solution for Venezuela can only be a politically negotiated one. It is important that we continuously work in support of dialogue, with a first aim set at organizing free, fair and transparent elections as soon as the situation allows.
Finland will contribute 200,000 euros to the Inter-American Development Bank’s efforts to support Venezuelan migrants and refugees living in Colombia. This is in addition to Finland’s more than 30 million euros of annual core funding to the global humanitarian system. Finland strongly supports core funding as a way of providing fast and flexible humanitarian assistance.