Perspectives on the Changing Security Panorama in the Borderlands
26 March 09:00
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Bogotá
This event, held at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bogotá, Colombia on 26th March 2019, brought together members of the Colombian government, international organisations, academia and civil society to discuss the double impact of Venezuelan migration and the implementation of the peace accords in marginalised areas. In selecting participants, we aimed for representatives of the state institutions and international agencies directly related to the assistance of the migration crisis, and which interact daily with Venezuelan migrants in a professional capacity (Defensoría del Pueblo, Pastoral Social, Desarrollo e Integración Fronteriza, United Nations, among others). An indigenous representative from the Bari community of the Catatumbo region and an academic from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Cúcuta were representatives of local civil society. Two members of Global Affairs Canada attended.
The day began with participants sharing an overview of the Venezuelan crisis, the direct impact it has on Colombian territory, and the initiatives by international organisations and the government to assist migrants and refugees. Participants expressed concerns about the limited efforts to monitor and document the Colombia-Venezuela borderland area, and therefore to effectively address local problematics. Beyond Paraguachón and Simón Bolívar International Bridge - currently closed in Venezuela - seven crossing points are located along the border. They all have geographic and economic particularities and are inhabited by diverse communities. The importance of visiting these areas to document their current situation is to better understand how the migration crisis, as well as continuing armed conflict dynamics, is impacting directly upon the security landscape of marginalised communities.