By Karla Betania Sanchez Arismendi
The city of Cuenca has officially agreed to shelter migrating refugees who were forced to leave their home country.
Marcelo Cabrera, Cuenca mayor, signed an agreement authorizing the Municipal Social Development Direction and the Posada San Francisco that will benefit more than 1,200 migrants each year by giving them temporary shelter and food.
The primary beneficiaries are those fleeing upheava, violence and hunger in their home countries of Venezuela and Colombia. Also included in the provisions for help ar Ecuadorians who are returning home after living abroad.
The mayor also signed a letter of understanding with Cuenca assemblywoman Ximena Peña to promote civic participation addressing issues common to displaced peoples.
“Casa del Migrante will offer information venues that give advice to the public about migration laws, safe migration, repatriation of bodies, support for returned Ecuadorians, and more. I am committed to working with all of those in need,” said Pena.
“Padre Cesar Santa Cruz head of Posada San Francisco, alongside with the Casa del Migrante, will work to improve the living conditions of those migrants in the city who are passing through and who are experiencing hard times and are vulnerable. We are obligated to uphold their rights just as they commit to their obligations in the intercultural system of coexistence,” said Cabrera.
¨We want to strengthen the human mobility rights without being careless of security in Ecuador,” said the assemblywoman, Peña.
“We are setting the groundwork to safely protect our country while respecting the rights of all.” said, Guerra.
According to the Cuenca Office of International Relations, there are estimated 3,000 Colombians living in the city, most of them refugess from the civil war in their country. There are an estimated 4,000 Venezuelans in the city, the majority of them arriving within the past 18 months.