According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 5.9 million Venezuelan citizens have left their country since the beginning of the Venezuelan migration crisis due to factors such as political and financial instability. Subsequently, as its bordering neighbor, Colombia hosts the largest number of Venezuelan migrants in Latin America and worldwide—numbering approximately 1.7 million, according to the UNHCR Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. As a result of the migration phenomenon, the Colombia faces new challenges to prevent and protect individuals and groups from human rights violations (HRV). Efforts to address these concerns are urgent and necessary for Venezuelan migrants, Colombian returnees, and host communities, where community cohesion and civil security are sought. To respond effectively to this growing migration crisis, ABA ROLI is implementing the USAID-funded program Conectando Caminos por los Derechos (CCD), as part of a consortium of partners, including Pact International, Freedom House and Internews. Launched in 2020, the program supports local initiatives focused on preventing, protecting, and responding to human rights violations of Venezuelan migrants and Colombian returnees.
The CCD program is composed of four key objectives: Prevention of HRV (Objective 1); Protection of Human Rights (Objective 2); Response to HRV (Objective 3); and Rapid Response (Objective 4), and cross-sectional areas such as Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI), Capacity Development, Communications, and Monitoring, and Evaluation and Learning (MEL). Within the consortium, ABA ROLI is the technical lead responsible for Objectives 1 and 3 (Prevention and Response), the integration of GESI initiatives, and mapping key stakeholders to find opportunities to empower those from the legal profession and civil society to respond effectively to the migration crisis. To fortify the Colombian government, local institutions, and civil society organizations (CSOs), ABA ROLI probes the contextual dynamics that define the national and sub-national systems related to migration and offers technical support for strategies for preventing and responding to HRV. CCD prioritizes the following HRVs: gender-based violence, trafficking in persons (sexual and labor exploitation), forced recruitment, and forced disappearances.