Principle Conclusions on the Situation of the Afro-Venezuelan Population in Migratory Contexts in Colombia


Race and Equality and the USAID INTEGRA Project present aninvestigation on the situation of the Afro-Venezuela population in migratory contexts in Colombia.

  • Race and Equality and the USAID INTEGRA Project present aninvestigation on the situation of the Afro-Venezuela population in migratory contexts in Colombia.
  • The research shows that Afro-descendant and migrant women suffer disproportionately from lack of access to services, mainly sexual and reproductive health services, due to a combination of discriminatory factors from a structural point of view, such as socioeconomic vulnerability, racial discrimination in medical settings, and lack of information and confidence in the mechanisms for access to justice to guarantee the fulfillment of their reproductive rights.
  • The report finds that, from an intersectional perspective, Afro-descendant women in migratory contexts have greater vulnerability and profound barriers to accessing their rights.
  • There is a close connection between racism, gender-based discrimination, and xenophobia. This means that migrant women of African descent are often victims of gender-based violence in their workplaces, formal and informal, and in accessing the health system. This violence is based on the reproduction of racial, gender-based, and xenophobic stereotypes. For example, due to hypersexualization and fetishization of Afro-descendent bodies constructed around the vulnerability of migrant women, in work spaces both formal and informal, the report identified cases of sexual assault, comments, and hypersexual insinuations.
  • The research findings highlight the need to integrate multiple approaches in sociodemographic and socioeconomic characterization procedures and to ensure the interoperability of information systems at the national level regarding the conditions of Afro-descendant individuals in migratory settings.


Colombia, September 29, 2023. The Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality), in the framework of the work carried out with USAID’s INTEGRA Project, presents the report: Situation of the Afro-Venezuelan population in migratory contexts in Colombia: Analysis and recommendations for the application of the ethnic-racial approach, product of the research conducted by Race and Equality, whose purpose is to generate recommendations for the inclusion of the ethnic-racial approach in the institutions of the migratory system and to promote the guarantee of their rights.

The investigation employed a methodology of life stories to analyze how gender, ethnic-racial belonging, and sexuality influence migratory trajectories. This came together in a qualitative investigation that identified sociodemographic and socioeconomic information, and life experiences of the Afro-descendant Venezuelan population residing in Bogotá, Cúcuta, Cali, Riohacha, and Medellín.


The lack of information and consideration of the differentiated experiences of Venezuelan Afro-descendants from a rights perspective and an intersectional approach cannot continue in a region historically and structurally marked by ethno-racial inequalities. In order to advance in the recognition of the rights of Afro-descendant people and to break down the matrix of racial and gender inequality in migratory contexts from a differential approach, it is necessary to recognize the existence and persistence of racial discrimination and racism. The current situation of Afro-descendant women interviewed in the framework of this research reflects that, although the notions of ethnic-racial self-recognition are different in the process of Venezuelan identity construction, the dynamics of inequality based on structural racism are reproduced in everyday life and condition the life experiences of these women. Furthermore, the lack of specific information about their experiences reinforces practices of institutional racism by not recognizing and characterizing this population in the same way as the rest of society.

In the workplace, research shows that there is a close relationship between racism, gender discrimination, and xenophobia. As a result, migrant women of African descent often experience gender-based violence in their workplaces, whether formal or informal, based on the reproduction of racial, gender, and xenophobic stereotypes.  Afro-descendant women tend to have access to jobs related to low-paid domestic work and mainly assume care duties in their homes, which acts as a barrier to their insertion into the labor market. Challenges were also recognized in accessing health, education, and justice mechanisms.   Therefore, it is urgent to advance in the construction of information from a differential perspective that recognizes these experiences, characterizes the population and their needs, and based on this, builds policies, programs, and projects to guarantee their rights.  Although socioeconomic indicators show that Afro-descendant women face greater economic vulnerability, this is not a “natural place”, but rather is the result of the inequalities among Afro-descendant women. It is the result of historical inequalities and power relations that condition and limit women’s lives.


According to the results of the research, Race and Equality recommends promoting the participation of all institutions that generate statistical information on people in migratory contexts to produce specific data on Afro-descendant people from Venezuela. The creation of variables on the socio-demographic and socioeconomic conditions of Afro-descendant people in migratory contexts should be guaranteed, incorporating variables from the approach of ethnic-racial self-recognition and heterorecognition. In this way, the identification of the population can be facilitated by understanding the Venezuelan socio-political and socio-cultural context and its diffuse relationship with ethnic-racial categories.

Likewise, it is important to guarantee the implementation of the ethnic-racial approach in the Comprehensive Migration Policy, recognizing the cultural and social contexts of migrants. It is recommended that characterization processes be carried out to collect relevant information. In addition, it is essential to promote and apply international standards against racial discrimination and migration, such as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (CIRDI), to develop policies and programs that benefit Afro-descendent migrants.

It is suggested that civil society organizations implement training processes with an ethnic-racial approach to the rights of Afro-descendant people in migratory contexts in Venezuela. Likewise, it is recommended to promote political advocacy processes to guarantee the rights of Afro-descendant Venezuelan people in migratory contexts in Colombia, establishing spaces for dialogue with state institutions. It is also important to stimulate knowledge management and training processes on the ethnic-racial categories in Colombia, as well as the normative opportunities that exist for the Afro-descendant migrant population.


Consult and Download the report: Situación de la población afrovenezolana en contextos migratorios en Colombia: Análisis y recomendaciones para la aplicación del enfoque étnico-racial



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