IOM, Federal Judges Start Project to Improve Migrants’ Rights in Brazil

Migrants Rights, Migration Policy

Brazil – Like many of its hemispheric neighbours, Brazil cherishes its heritage as a nation of migrants. Today Latin America’s biggest economy – and largest population – continues to uphold that heritage as both a destination and transit nation for hundreds of thousands of men, women and children annually, as well as being a sender of its own migrants worldwide.

Those are all strong factors behind IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s decision this month (9 September) to sign an agreement with Brazil’s National Association of Federal Judges (AJUFE by its Portuguese acronym) to implement a project to improve judges’ technical capacity and expand migrants’ access to rights, with a special attention to women and vulnerable migrants. The Agreement was signed by AJUFE’s President, Fernando Marcelo Mendes and IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, Stephane Rostiaux, on 6 September 2018.

AJUFE´s Mendes explained that the partnership with IOM is paramount to the joint development of topics regarding migrants’ access to justice. He added: “With the agreement, we aim to contribute to strengthen capacities to investigate and prosecute human trafficking and to give back citizenship to those migrants in vulnerable situations imposed by humanitarian crises.”

The first two outcomes of the agreement will be the inclusion of 20 federal judges in an online training on the introduction to international migration to be held between October and December 2018, and the promotion of a capacity building workshop in December 2018.

According to Rostiaux, the judicial branch is a fundamental player in the protection of individual and collective rights of migrants. “The partnership with AJUFE allows IOM to move towards its goal of making migration dignified, safe and orderly for the benefit of migrants and society.”

In the wake of completing successful projects in partnership with Brazil’s Office of the Federal Public Defenders and its Office of Federal Prosecutors, this new agreement marks the first time IOM will have a dedicated project for Brazil’s federal judges.

The training workshop will focus on legal issues rising from migration emergencies, including the protection of vulnerable migrants. Counter trafficking measures, the protection of indigenous migrants and the prevention of crimes related to migration will be part of the training.

AJUFE will select 20 federal judges from border areas and from regions involved in the relocation of Venezuelan migrants to receive training on international and domestic standards of protection of migrants, and on tools to prevent and prosecute crimes related to the migration process, such as trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. The training will explore both theoretical and conceptual aspects of migration and problem-solving exercises with real cases that took place in Brazil in recent years.

Established in 1972, AJUFE represents more than 2,000 federal judges, federal appeal courts judges, and justices from the High Court of Justice and the Supreme Court. One of its principal goals is to strengthen the rule of law and the enforcement of human rights in Brazil.

IOM and AJUFE plan to extend the partnership in 2019 with new capacity-building efforts.

For more information please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9065, Email:

  • IOM training for Brazilian Federal Judges will focus on legal issues rising from migration emergencies, including the protection of vulnerable migrants. Photo: ASCOM-AJUFE