Santiago, Chile, February 8, 2021 – The Scalabrinian Missionaries, Directors of the SIMN NETWORK of Migrant Centers and Shelters in South America, meeting virtually, declare their deep concern and solidarity for the situation experienced by thousands of Venezuelan migrants in the communes of Colchanes, Huara, and Iquique, north of Chile and border with Bolivia.
Desperate by the social, economic, and political crisis, the health emergency of Covid 19 and deceived by networks of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, hundreds of men, women, and children are stranded in the city of Colchanes and other border cities on its way to Chile after a long journey in fleets or walking through the countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, without having been intercepted or supported by any authority in these transit countries.
Reports from relatives who communicate with our centers and shelters, as well as information shared in the press and social groups, indicate that the northern border area in Chile faces a serious migratory and humanitarian crisis that affects migrants, local authorities, and local communities. Currently, the border area is occupied by security forces that try to stop the entry of migrants, while seeking to respond to those who are already in Chilean territory.
We understand that this migratory and humanitarian crisis should not only be the responsibility of the Chilean government and its local authorities, but of all the countries in the region where the application of public policies of social inclusion, economic development, and innovation is urgent to combat poverty and the violation of fundamental rights, which are currently the main cause of intra-regional migratory movements. All this, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which affects all of humanity.
We regret the situation that arose on that Bolivian/Chilean border, we regret the pain and suffering of the people who emigrate and flee booted and abandoned to their fate, and we mourn the death of those who have paid with their lives for the attempt to cross borders.
All this means that we have lost our humanity and that political decisions and concrete actions of solidarity must be taken and promoted in favor of human beings, especially the poorest and most excluded in our society.
We hope that this migratory crisis that affects the northern borders of Chile with Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, will be solved soon and that we will not have to regret the loss of more lives. We ask the merciful God to touch everyone’s heart for solidarity and to have mercy on those who cause so much harm to the world.
To collaborate for the solution of this crisis, the SIMN Network makes its reception, promotion, and integration services available to the Argentine, Bolivian, Chilean and Peruvian authorities for those who need it, while a solution is jointly sought for that delicate, inconvenient, and shameful situation that we are living.
SIMN NETWORK – MIGRANT CENTERS AND SHELTERS IN SOUTH AMERICA