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Venezuela Migrant Crisis: Peru Receives Asylum Requests

Venezuelan migrants wait to pass the Binational Border Service Center of Peru at the border with Ecuador,  in Tumbes, Peru, on August 24.Venezuelan migrants wait to pass the Binational Border Service Center of Peru at the border with Ecuador,  in Tumbes, Peru, on August 24.

Hundreds of Venezuelans have requested asylum in Peru, an official has said, just hours after the country tightened its entry requirements.

New rules require Venezuelans trying to enter Peru to have a passport, and not just an identity card as before, BBC reported.

The authorities in Lima set a deadline of midnight on Friday for the new passport rules to come into force.

Similar regulations were introduced in Ecuador last week, only to be overturned by a court.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country amid chronic shortages of food and medicines.

The country’s longstanding economic crisis has seen more than two million citizens leave since 2014, causing regional tensions as neighboring countries struggle to accommodate them.

Like other South American nations, Peru is trying to control the influx of people escaping Venezuela’s economic crisis.

The UN—whose migration agency has warned that the continent faces a refugee “crisis moment” similar to that seen in the Mediterranean in 2015—is setting up a special team to coordinate the regional response.

  UN Stance

Joel Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, a UN agency, said increasing border restrictions coupled with an outbreak of violence on the Brazilian border last week, was an early warning sign that the region was in need of help.

“This is building to a crisis moment that we’ve seen in other parts of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean,” he told reporters.

Chiara Cardoletti of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) said other countries in the region had welcomed Venezuelans and were helping to “avoid a situation like the one we have seen in Europe.”

“What we are seeing is a continent that has opened its doors to people who are fleeing and who need support,” she told the BBC.

Cardoletti added that Colombia had registered more than 450,000 Venezuelans and given them regular status.

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