The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement said Monday that they cannot participate in the distribution of international humanitarian aid to Venezuela from Colombia if there is no prior agreement with those organizations.
"The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement reaffirm that in order to ensure the fulfillment of its exclusively humanitarian mission and, according to the fundamental principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence, it cannot take part in the initiatives to hand over assistance for Venezuela from Colombia," the two organizations said in a joint statement signed by the head of the IFRC Country Cluster for Andean Countries, Michele Detomaso, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia, Christoph Harnisch, and president of the Colombian Red Cross, Judith Carvajal.
Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself to be Venezuela's legitimate president on Jan. 23, announced on Saturday that a coalition of humanitarian aid was created with collection centres from the Colombian city of Cucuta, Brazil and a Caribbean island whose name he did not reveal, to help between 250,000-300,000 Venezuelans at risk of death.
On Monday, the Colombian government announced the establishment of a Unified Command Post in Cucuta, the main border crossing between Colombia and Venezuela, to coordinate the receipt of international humanitarian aid to be delivered in the neighboring country.
The National Disaster Risk Management System of Colombia, which is at the forefront of the operation, said in a statement that the Colombian authorities are working with Guaido on the logistics to receive and mobilize humanitarian aid.
The joint declaration of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement added that the organizations will continue to provide humanitarian support to vulnerable populations on Colombian territory including the migrant population in coordination with their partners.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the world has reached 3 million, out of which over 1 million are in Colombia.
Meanwhile, the Lima Group, which met in Ottawa on Monday, called on the armed forces of Venezuela not to stop the entry and movement of humanitarian aid.
In opening remarks to mark the start of the meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced 53 million Canadian dollars ($40.4 million) in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.