The country’s Refugee and Statelessness Commission has accepted 54% of requests from foreigners who came to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry, while 30% were denied. In Guayaquil a hostel was enabled.
Luis, 50 years old, lived on what the land offered him in the countryside of his country, in Colombia. But one day armed men came to his land to demand money to protect him and his family.
At the beginning of fear he did it to avoid problems, but there came a time when he could not, because he did not have any more money. Then they told him that if he did not, they would kill him and kidnap his wife and children. Faced with this situation, more than five years ago, he decided to escape at dawn and leave behind his small plots.
He had already heard that Ecuador was a country friendly to foreigners and that is why he decided to cross the border into this territory and restart his life. Today he feels relieved in Quito. His story is similar to that of many of his compatriots who felt threatened by the armed conflict that Colombia was openly experiencing.
According to the figures of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, overwhelmingly Colombians occupy the first place among citizens of different nationalities who sought refuge in Ecuador. Although in the last two years, according to official statistics, a new rebound was reported. The last similar movement was registered in 2011.
For Billy Navarrete, of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDH), the issue of displacement with Colombians remains, despite the Peace Agreement. The activist recommends that the authorities work on the issue of education to eradicate xenophobia, because at some point some of the displaced were treated in a discriminatory way by some element of the forces of law and order.
Luis recalled that on one occasion he felt that others, when they did not know him, showed distrust towards him, but over time that never happened again. “I have many friends”. According to the Refugee and Statelessness Commission, 54% of refugee applications that have reached the Ecuadorian Chancellery have been accepted, while 30% and other resolutions have been denied 16%.
On the other hand, the wave of people who come from Venezuela is another phenomenon that took force from the year 2018. Through the streets of Quito and Guayaquil the situation of citizens of that nationality is evident. Navarrete indicates that, even, the institution has received strong criticism for defending their rights.
In Guayaquil, a space was set up to assist people who came to the country without anything. The Hogar de Cristo Foundation runs the “A Roof for the Road” program, where they are helped. At the moment, 7,243 people there have been served: 23% are children and adolescents and 32.5% are women. Also, Navarrete says, there is an information point for human mobility at the Buenos Aires Terminal Terminal.
Carmen, 33, is a Venezuelan citizen who arrived two months ago to ask for refuge. In February, during one of the marches in her country, she was threatened by a group for protesting against the Nicolás Maduro regime. The members of that group lived near their sector and that led her to fear for her life.
“I stopped going to the marches, but I was afraid that they would come home at some point and kill me and my family.” The danger that ran along with his three children and his mother led the girl to leave Barquisimeto. When he arrived in our country, he received the help of the HIAS Organization, which for each member of the family gave him $ 25.
“With that money I bought food to sell and thus support my family.” Currently lives in Guayaquil. After applying for the visa they granted it to her and her children. “Here I feel calm, I can walk freely through the streets”. She sells arepas and empanadas in the morning, while in the afternoon, lunches.
The UN Refugee Agency reported on Monday, June 17, that it sent extra equipment to the border of Peru with Ecuador in order to support the authorities in dealing with the number never seen before of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
Peruvian authorities announced new visa requirements for Venezuelans. Last Friday 8,000 crossed the border in Tumbes, the largest number in a single day. Of these, 4,700 filed asylum applications in Peru. (I)