The European Union’s (EU) European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released its asylum figures for 2017 today, which tally the number of claims made in the EU by citizens from countries around the world. The figures show that the number of Venezuelans asking for asylum in the EU rose 155% in 2017 from the previous year.

According to the EASO’s figures, 12,020 Venezuelans asked for asylum in the EU in all of 2017. That same year, the EU processed the asylum requests of 2,395 Venezuelans, with the breakdown of the decisions shown below:

  • 175 granted refugee status
  • 2,065 rejected claims
  • 65 granted subsidiary protection
  • 95 granted stay in the EU on humanitarian grounds

The highest number of asylum requests came from Syria, with 108,040.

Venezuela’s ongoing collapse has resulted in an unprecedented migrant exodus. The massive flight of Venezuelans from their country appears to have intensified following the July 30 2017 election of Maduro’s Constituent Assembly at the end of a months-long protest wave. The election was widely regarded by regime critics as a monumental step forward towards dictatorship for Maduro and the ruling PSUV party.

OHCHR Recommends Commission to Investigate Regime Abuses

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke today at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. During his address, the high commissioner presented his global report on human rights, and briefly addressed the situation in Venezuela.

Al Hussein recommended creating a commission to investigate the Maduro regime’s abuses against political dissidents. The high commissioner said:

Given the gravity and scope of the human rights violations in Venezuela and the continued denial of access to my office, we will continue remote monitoring and reporting. Our second report will be published in the coming days, and we firmly believe the Council needs to establish a commission of inquiry.

The international community has taken significant steps over the past several months that could potentially lead to repercussions for Maduro regime officials over their brutal repression of political dissent in the country.

Back in February of this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it was beginning a preliminary examination into regime abuses. One of the possible outcomes of the preliminary examination is the forwarding of cases to the ICC for prosecution for crimes against humanity.

On May 29, an expert panel with the Organization of American States (OAS) released a 400-page report outlining in minute detail the Maduro regime’s repression of dissent. The report found that there are “reasonable grounds” to conclude that Maduro and other regime officials have committed crimes against humanity.



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