Brazil, IOM, UNHCR Partner to Support Resettlement of Refugees from Central America

Posted: 
06/04/19
Themes: 
Resettlement

Brasilia – On 30 May, a group of 11 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras arrived in Brazil as part of the first movement under the Government of Brazil’s State-Funded Resettlement Programme. The programme is supported by the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM), which is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).  

With the arrival of these three families, Brazil has shown its full support to the countries of the North of Central America to address the forced displacement crisis in the region, and to share the responsibility with other countries in line with the Global Compact on Refugees.   

The three families were welcomed by representatives from the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE, in Portuguese) of the Government of Brazil, IOM and UNHCR, as well as members of Associação Antonio Vieira (ASAV), the civil society organization selected by the Ministry of Justice to Implement the Resettlement Programme. The refugees will soon settle in Rio Grande do Sul. 

“Refugee resettlement is a very important strategy and represents responsibility-sharing among sovereign states, which offer in their territory, protection for the individuals who cannot find safeguards in their country of origin or habitual residence,” said CONARE coordinator Bernardo Laferté.  

He commended Brazilian people, saying they had shown on several occasions to be prepared to resettle refugees and to integrate them into their society. “One of the greatest strengths of this programme is Brazilian society’s capacity to welcome refugees so they can truly feel at home,” said Laferté.  

Since 2017, under ERCM – a mechanism created following the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016 with the goal of providing financial and technical support to emerging countries interested in establishing or strengthening their resettlement programmes – IOM and UNHCR have been providing  support to the Government of Brazil, in policy and programme design, identification, referral and selection of cases, pre-departure preparation procedures, medicals checks, travel assistance and reception and integration activities. 

Resettlement under UNHCR auspices is an invaluable protection tool to meet the specific needs of refugees under the Office’s mandate whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge. Besides identifying refugees in need of resettlement and referring them to host nations as part of its mandate, UNHCR supports countries with programme and policy design, as well as provides technical support in relation to reception and local integration. Resettlement and other complementary paths are one of the key objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. 

In coordination with the Government of Brazil, IOM has developed health protocols and conducted medical assessments to identify and address pre-existing health conditions and ensure that refugees travel safely. IOM was also responsible for conducting a tailored three-day pre-departure cultural orientation to help refugees to develop the knowledge and skills that will facilitate integration. They have also learned about their rights as refugees, host society’s culture, education, health care, labour market and other areas. IOM also provided documentation and travel assistance during the movement. 

“The most important about this programme is that it is a comprehensive programme, including human, economic and emotional aspects,” said a beneficiary. 

In addition to States and international organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can also play a key role throughout the identification, pre-departure, and the post resettlement integration processes.  

ASAV, with the support of the Government of Brazil, will provide the beneficiaries with assistance for one year, including accommodation, legal and psychosocial assistance, guidance for accessing public services and policies and facilitating activities for inclusion in the labour market. 

For more information, please contact Erica Kaefer at IOM Brazil, Email: ekaefer@iom.int, or Alan Azevedo, at UNHCR Brazil, Email: azevedo@unhcr.org