María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001
Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes Peru’s adoption of Supreme Decree No. 002-2017-IN, approving guidelines to grant temporary resident permits allowing Venezuelan citizens to stay in Peru. The IACHR highlights this measure adopted by Peru as a good practice in the region. In a context of shared responsibility, the IACHR calls on the other member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to adopt measures such as this one, or similar types of measures, to protect Venezuelan migrants.
In a note dated February 27, 2017, Peru’s Permanent Representative to the OAS informed the IACHR that Supreme Decree No. 002-2017-IN had been approved on January 2, 2017. This decree establishes that it is incumbent upon the National Office of Migration to establish procedures for issuing temporary permits in the interest of protecting and ensuring the rights of Venezuelans in Peru.
The temporary resident permit, known as a TRP (Permiso Temporal de Permanencia or PTP, by its Spanish acronym), validates a holder’s regular immigration status in the country and is good for one year, after which it can automatically be extended until the entry into force of the Immigration Law or until the political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela returns to normal. On February 2, 2017, Peru’s Ministry of the Interior and the National Office of Migration began issuing the first of these temporary permits to Venezuelans, allowing them to study, work, access health services, and pay taxes.
The PTP is in line with the recommendations made by the IACHR in a press release on January 25, 2017, in which the Commission expressed its concern over the increasing number of Venezuelans who have been forced to migrate to other countries in the region as a means of survival—mainly due to the serious political and social crisis generated by shortages of food, medicine, and medical treatment—and called on States in the region to implement measures to protect them. The IACHR observes that in response to medicine shortages in Venezuela, on March 24, 2017, President Nicolás Maduro made a public appeal to the United Nations to help normalize the whole issue of medicines, and asked Venezuelan authorities to follow UN recommendations on the subject.
The IACHR considers the PTP represents an example for the region of how States can protect migrants who are in a vulnerable situation by regularizing migration. Doing so in a prompt and general way lays the foundation for guaranteeing the effective exercise of the right to migrate and the principle of equality and non-discrimination of migrants and others in the context of human mobility. These measures also underscore the humanitarian nature of Peru and its memory and gratitude for the measures Venezuela and other countries adopted to benefit Peruvians who emigrated decades ago.
According to publicly available information, the migration of Venezuelan citizens to other States in the region has been increasing exponentially in recent years. The Commission reiterates its concern regarding the exponential increase in the number of asylum seekers from Venezuela. According to figures from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 505 asylum seekers from Venezuela at year-end 2012; 1,153 in 2013; 4,820 in 2014; 15,094 at year-end 2015; and 25,114 by the middle of 2016. This means that between 2012 and mid-2016, the number of Venezuelans seeking recognition of refugee status abroad increased by 4,873 percent. From year-end 2015 to mid-2016, moreover, the number of Venezuelan asylum seekers worldwide increased by 66 percent.
“At a time when the building of walls and the closure of borders is being encouraged, it is critical for the protection of migrants and refugees that States provide legal and safe channels for people to migrate, and promote regularization of migration for those who have been forced to recur to irregular migration channels,” said IACHR Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants. To do that, States can use measures such as humanitarian admission programs, family reunification visas, student scholarships, guest worker programs, private sponsorships, and refugee resettlement programs.
The IACHR once again calls on the States of the region to adopt measures designed to provide humanitarian treatment and an international protection response to people coming from Venezuela, through the protection of refugees, complementary protection, temporary protection for humanitarian reasons, and humanitarian visas, as well as to apply other regularization alternatives based on national and regional migration law. The international protection of refugees and asylum seekers, the establishment of humanitarian visas, the resettlement of refugees, as well as the application of other alternatives to regularize migration represent comprehensive, complementary, and sustainable solutions to protect those who are affected and to comply with the 2014 Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.