Colombia will give citizenship to children of Venezuelans born in its territory

The president stressed that, with the decision taken on Monday, they support "defenseless creatures who want to have a nationality"

Colombian President Iván Duque speaks with Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and Attorney General Fernando Carrillo

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Colombian President Iván Duque (c) speaks with Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo (i) and Attorney General Fernando Carrillo (d) in Bogotá (Colombia). EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

EFE

The Colombian Government approved on Monday a resolution whereby the children of Venezuelans born in Colombian territory from August 19, 2015, will obtain nationality so that they are not at risk of being stateless.

"In a great interinstitutional effort of the Colombian State ... we joined together to tell those 24,000 children who have been in that situation that practically led to statelessness that they will not be in that situation and today they are given Colombian nationality so that they have that right protected universally," President Iván Duque said in a statement.

The Colombian State decided to adopt the measure when it "found that there were insurmountable obstacles" so that these children could obtain Venezuelan nationality and did not have access to the Colombian since their parents are foreigners not domiciled in the country, the Presidency said.

The measure is urgent, temporary and exceptional, so it has a validity of two years or when the circumstances that prevent the registration of minors as Venezuelans cease.

In this regard, Duque recalled that about 1.4 million Venezuelan citizens have settled in Colombia fleeing from the crisis in their country, an incense flow as some 35,000 definitely cross the common border, some to buy goods from first need and others to emigrate definitively.

"Today we meet children who deserve attention and affection from a people because they are not guilty of that tragedy and we affirm that Colombia to the world shows that in times of difficulty the fraternity prevails and we will not let those who sow seeds in our country they want to make xenophobia an opportunistic path," said the president.

The measure is in line with what is indicated by the American Convention on Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Convention to Reduce Statelessness.

Read also: Maduro says fugitive ex-leaders of FARC are 'welcome' in Venezuela

Currently, Venezuela does not have consulates in Colombia after both countries broke relations and Colombia recognized as interim president of Venezuela the head of parliament, Juan Guaidó.

In addition, Venezuela does not grant citizenship to children born in Colombia with Venezuelan parents.

For all these reasons, the president stressed that with the decision adopted on Monday they support "defenseless creatures who want to have a nationality" and who today told them they are Colombians.

The decision was taken in what the ruler described as an act of solidarity despite the "fiscal constraints" that a country like Colombia has with a per capita income of less than $ 8,000, much lower than those of European countries that have faced similar migratory crises.

"Today we can say that in the midst of difficulties, Colombia has shown the world that the path of xenophobia is the wrong path, that of segregating needy brothers is the wrong path," Duque concluded.

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