Between December 2nd and 3rd 2014, CEJIL will participate in a ministerial event in Brasilia, Brazil celebrating the culmination of the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) estimates that over 800,000 people throughout Latin America are in need of refugee protection status. In Colombia alone, an estimated 5 million people are internally displaced, while the number of stateless persons is estimated at 200,000. Additionally, the region has been dealing with the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing northward from organized crime , drug trafficking , domestic violence and lack of institutions to address these problems in El Salvador , Guatemala and Honduras.
At the meeting, it is expected that participating states and members of civil society will adopt a new action plan that will best address challenges faced in implementing programs that facilitate sustainable solutions and protect refugees, stateless and internally displaced persons over the next 10 years.
The new plan will provide an innovative, pragmatic and flexible framework for international cooperation and solidarity with governments. It will be conducted in collaboration with the UNHCR and other international agencies, civil society and the international community.
"30 years of the Declaration, Latin America and the Caribbean still face significant challenges –including transnational organized crime, violence generated by “maras” or gangs , natural disasters and displacement caused by the construction of mega development projects. Now more than ever, states require greater coordination and consolidation of regional standards to guarantee the rights of people seeking international protection, " said Viviana Krsticevic , Executive Director of CEJIL, . "We hope the meeting will help develop solutions to these challenges.”
CEJIL played a key role in the consultation processes that have been held under +30 Cartagena . On July 15, 2014 , in collaboration with over 500 organizations , the organization crafted the Declaration of Bogotá. This declaration aims to highlight weaknesses found within institutional responses to humanitarian crises and further address the lack of rights of displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees as well as victims of trafficking in persons, stateless persons and victims of new forms of forced domestic and international migration due to development and private investment projects, environmental degradation and climate change, and common and organized crime.
In 1984, state representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean met in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia , to discuss the legal and humanitarian issues affecting refugees in the region and to find solutions. The meeting was considered a turning point in the subject and created the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.
This Declaration broadened the definition of refugees previously found in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and helped establish recommendations on the humane treatment and the crafting of durable solutions for those in need of international protection. The Declaration is one of the most important instruments of protection for refugees in the region. Through it, governments and members of civil society have conducted extensive processes of consultation and searched for pragmatic solution in Latin America and the Caribbean to address contemporary challenges faced in creating responses that address protection of refugees , internally displaced and stateless persons.