Santo Domingo – During the Social Integration Fair held in the premises of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo – the first of its kind – 550 Venezuelan refugees and migrants recently arrived in the Dominican Republic had access to medical services and legal advice on migration issues. The cost to them: nothing.

The event was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Colonia Foundation of Venezuelans in the Dominican Republic (FUNCOVERD) and funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the Department of American state.

During the one-day fair, Venezuelans had access to pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry and ophthalmology services through the Health Unit of the Dominican Ministry of Defense, Hospital Robert Reid and the Pastoral of Health. A total of 31 volunteer doctors and specialists also provided expertise, while IOM provided legal advice and advice on migration issues.

“I thank everyone, on behalf of the entire Venezuelan migrant population, for joining us at this fair, which is an open door in the Dominican Republic to move forward on issues of cohesion and human rights,” said Miguel Otaiza, President of FUNCONVERD, adding: “The foundation continues to make efforts to build a better future. Thank you also for the continued support of the Dominican State and its people.”

Many new arrivals from Venezuela sought to dispel doubts about the regularization mechanisms available to them. Access to housing in the country was also a concern, as were questions about starting a business, how to pay taxes and other matters.

“The important thing is that this small example shows how the Venezuelan population integrates into Dominican society and seeks mechanisms to meet its main needs, including access to health services”, explained Jorge Baca Vaughan, head of IOM mission. in the Dominican Republic.

As of April 2019, IOM estimates that around 3.7 million people left Venezuela. According to data from immigration authorities and other sources, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have taken in around 3 million Venezuelans, of whom 28,500 currently live in these neighboring countries.

The event was held within the framework of the Regional Plan for the Response to Migrant Refugees (RMRP) with the participation of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Dominican Institute for Integrated Development, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, the General Directorate of Taxes, the Ministry of Women, the Office of the Mediator, the National Institute of Migration and the Bar Association.

For more information, please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel. : +1 809 688 8174, E-mail: [email protected]