Anna Luisa Del Mar, special for InfoRel –
Refuge has never been a more discussed topic among Brazilians as in the recent months. The nation that is proud of its multiculturalist origin and stands on the as a country that, like its most iconic monument, welcomes all with open arms; it is being tested.
In 2017 the number of refuge requests reached an unprecedented record: 33,866 applications, more than half made by Venezuelans (17,865). As the economic crisis in Venezuela worsens with clear signs of recession, so does the number of Venezuelans who seeks in Brazil better living conditions.
At the same time, recent developments of the conflict in Syria continue to shock the population on this side of the Atlantic. More than 5.4 million were forcibly displaced since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, seeking safety in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey that alone already houses more than 3.3 million people.
Neglected by the media there are also conflicts in the African continent (i.e Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan) that forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands of families, some of them ending up seeking safety in in Brazil – 2,036 Angolans applied for refuge last year.
That is why different agents of society should follow with interest the next UN General Assembly meetings, which will take place the on following September in New York.
Among the traditional themes addressed by the representatives of the Member States – such as peace and security, international cooperation and human rights – it is going to be discussed a new Global Compact for Refugees. The agreement to be consequently adopted by the signatory States, intents to modify the way international community responds to the growing refugee crisis.
The task of build a new regulatory framework on forced displacement was assigned to UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – by the same Assembly two years ago. Since then, the agency has been promoting regional meetings to discuss the best practices adopted by different regions concerning the protection of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless.
In February 2018, representatives from 36 countries and territories from Latin America and Caribbean met at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia for the Latin American and Caribbean Consultation Meeting as a Regional Contribution to the Global Compact on Refugees. The meeting was preceded by sub-regional consultations held in San Pedro Sula, Nassau, Quito and Buenos Aires and resulted in the signing of the “100 Points of Brasilia”, a document that will serve as contribution to the Pact.
The new Global Compact for Refugees will bring together guidelines that seek to consolidate a more equitable global migration system with durable and sustainable solutions. After a preliminary reading of the document, published by the agency on January 2018, it is possible to state that the new measures distance themselves from current focal investment practices that are directly reverted to humanitarian services in camps and refugee settlements, proposing instead, the transfer of funds to national health and education systems, thereby increasing refugee access to civil registration and livelihood systems at the hosts countries without overburdening those institutions.
The pact also target a broad range of stakeholders, including the private sector and financial institutions, in order to help host countries manage more effective response actions.
Anna Luisa Del Mar is a journalist. E-mail: email@example.com