On February 21, twelve leading human rights organizations from Venezuela and across the Americas sent a letter to the foreign ministries of the member countries of the Lima Group, which is meeting today in Bogota (version en español).

In the letter, the signing organizations urge the regional bloc to commit to migration policies that include “durable, coordinated, long-term measures and from a protection perspective in favor of people from Venezuela.”

As the letter notes, many of the Lima Group countries have committed in principle to accepting expired travel documents as valid for migration purposes. They should act on this commitment, and ensure that they are taking coordinated steps to protect the rights of Venezuelans who have fled their country.

The letter also calls on the Lima Group countries to reject the criminalization of humanitarian workers in Venezuela, as well as to call on all countries to abstain from using aid for anything other than humanitarian purposes. Finally, the signing organizations maintain their focus on finding a peaceful solution to the crisis, by rejecting the use of force in favor of coordinated multilateral diplomacy.

The text of the letter is here, and has been signed by:

Acceso a la Justicia – Venezuela

Acción Solidaria – Venezuela

Centro de Derechos Humanos, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello – Venezuela

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional, CEJIL – Regional

Civilis Derechos Humanos – Venezuela

Conectas Direitos Humanos – Brazil

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos – Peru

Dejusticia – Colombia

Instituto Migrações e Direitos Humanos – Brazil

Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos, Provea – Venezuela

Red Jesuita con Migrantes LAC – Regional

Washington Office on Latin America – WOLA – Regional/United States