Ricardo Montaner and the Pan American Development Foundation Launch #TodosSomosMigrantes (We are All Migrants) Campaign

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#TodosSomosMigrantes: An international campaign to inspire and promote a more compassionate and humanitarian attitude to help Venezuelan migrants and refugees integrate into new communities.

"Many of the Venezuelans and other migrants who come to a new country do not come voluntarily. Instead, they have been forced to flee because of the economic, social and political situation in their home country," said Ricardo Montaner, PADF & OAS Ambassador for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees.

Venezuelan singer-songwriter Ricardo Montaner is joining the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the humanitarian arm of the Organization of American States (OAS), to promote inclusion and solidarity towards migrants and refugees internationally.

Today, the Venezuelan exodus is one of the largest migratory movements in the world. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), estimates that there are already 3.4 million displaced Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Colombia has welcomed more than a million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, the most of any country. It is followed by Peru (506,000), Chile (288,000), Ecuador (221,000), Argentina (130,000) and Brazil (96,000). Mexico and various countries in Central America and the Caribbean have also received a significant number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

"It is an honor to have Ricardo Montaner as a PADF and OAS ambassador for the rights of the migrants and refugees, and for his commitment and support to the migrant communities throughout our continent," said Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro. "During large migrations like the one we are experiencing, support from influential people like Montaner is especially vital to help inspire people in host countries to offer a helping hand, and to help integrate migrants and refugees into their new countries. The exodus, caused by the violation of the human rights of Venezuelans, is not simple. Given the situation, we all have a moral obligation to help,” said Secretary General Almagro.

The goal of the campaign, #TodosSomosMigrantes, is to achieve integration and reduce xenophobia by encouraging empathy, inclusion and solidarity towards Venezuelan migrants and refugees in host countries. It will initially launch in Colombia and Peru, where more than 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees live in vulnerable conditions.

The campaign is a response to the hostility that some Venezuelan migrants and refugees have experienced in their new communities. Many have been met with negative reactions, like discriminatory messages on social media. Moreover, flagrant discrimination has been shown by mistreating Venezuelan laborers, vendors and job applicants who attempt to enter the workforce, denying their applications for housing, and in some cases, by physical violence.

#TodosSomosMigrantes will officially launch on Monday, May 27, at 12:00 PM EST, (11 AM in Bogotá and Lima), through the website and social media platforms of Ricardo Montaner, OAS, PADF and other partners. Additionally, the campaign will launch several PSAs for broadcast on Latin American TV and social media networks. To download campaign materials, visit http://www.padf.org

"Expressions of rejection towards migrants make us lose sight of the real human essence behind each person. Many of the Venezuelans and other migrants who come to a new country do not come voluntarily. Rather, they have been forced to flee because of the economic, social and political situation in their home country," said Ricardo Montaner, PADF and OAS Ambassador for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees.

Ricardo Montaner called for other artists to join the initiative and use their voices and social platforms to spread the message of integration and solidarity toward migrants and refugees. "This is the opportunity to lead by example, just as music does not need a passport and knows no borders, my dream is that all of us in Latin America can see each other as equals regardless of origins or flags. The important thing is to contribute to a better future for everyone and for society. Integration and tolerance are the best tools to fight against xenophobia," said Montaner.

Other pubic figures have already joined Montaner, including Peruvian singer-songwriter Gian Marco, Spanish singer-songwriter Natalia Jiménez, Colombian journalist Daniel Samper Ospina and Dominican journalist Iván Ruiz, among others.

In addition to the campaign, PADF is implementing an assistance program for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia and Peru. The program seeks to increase access to protection mechanisms for migrants and refugees, reduce gender-based violence and improve integration in their new communities. With funding from the United States Department of State, the program seeks to improve conditions for more than 44,000 migrants and refugees. "Thanks to migration, there are new ideas and opportunities for prosperity for all. Migration creates a richness in diversity as well as a dynamic economy," said Katie Taylor, Executive Director of PADF.

About PADF
The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) was established by the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1962. PADF seeks to create a more just, peaceful and prosperous hemisphere where each person has the opportunity to thrive. We do this by promoting human development, strengthening democracy and governance, and improving justice and security. Join us: http://www.padf.org.

About OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the main political forum of the Americas, which brings together all of the independent nations of the Western Hemisphere to jointly promote democracy, strengthen human rights, foster peace, security and cooperation, and advance in the achievement of common interests. Since its establishment, the OAS’s main objective has been to prevent conflicts and provide political stability, social inclusion and prosperity in the region through dialogue and collective actions such as cooperation and mediation.

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Isaac Fast

Mónica Reyes
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