More than 20 thousand babies in Colombia of Venezuelan parents have no nationality

Alejandro Figuera
3 min read

The figures handled by the Colombian migration directorate detail that 1,260,594 Venezuelans are in the coffee country.

This massive exodus never before seen on the continent, and caused by the economic, food and social crisis caused by Chavismo, has made more than 20,000 babies born in Colombia with parents from Venezuela do not legally have a nationality.

This happens because the immigration laws in the country led by Ivan Duque, clarify that Colombian nationality is not automatically granted to newborns of parents whose status is of undocumented immigrants.

More than 20 thousand babies in Colombia of Venezuelan parents have no nationality
Venezuelan mother with her newborn son. (BBC)

The case from the individual perspective

Thanks to the testimonies collected by the BBC, we were able to learn in detail the story of Diego, a newborn whose parents belong to the extraordinary number of Venezuelans fleeing the regime of Nicolas Maduro.

Diego and his parents are located south of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Even though they are in one of the most expensive cities; The southern area is far from these luxuries, restaurants and large shopping centers are at a considerable distance from them.

Julia, Diego's mother, comments the following in relation to her stay in the country: "If nothing changes, I hope they allow you to study here. Let it grow"

The response of international organizations

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and a group of non-governmental organizations reported that this situation is a case that must be dealt with as soon as possible.

"We recommend, whatever the path that the Colombian authorities decide to follow, whether a law or a decree, the mechanism allows resolving cases", says Juan Ignacio Mondelli, responsible for protection of the regional office of UNHCR.

UNHCR details that the legal status of these newborns could exempt them from receiving education and medical care.

"They live in the shadows and, in practice, they are excluded" added Juan Ignacio Mondelli.

International organizations are not the only ones reacting

The Ombudsman of Colombia also asks the authorities of this country to act in relation to the problem in which stateless babies are involved. In an interview with BBC Mundo, a spokesman for this institution said:

"The complexity of the phenomenon and the problems derived from it in guaranteeing the rights of those with a higher degree of vulnerability, such as migrant children, such as the risk of statelessness, malnutrition, lack of access to schools and services health, among others, realize the need for national authorities to act soon in order to avoid irreparable damage".

In addition, in the same conversation he points out that:

"Many minors born in our country do not have nationality, which is derived in the impossibility of access and guarantee of their fundamental rights, thereby increasing the vulnerability of this population"