IOM Trains Federal Judges in Brazil
Brasilia – As a surge of Venezuelans continues to flow across international borders, this month the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sponsored a training session entitled Migration Law: Improving the Capacity of the Federal Justice in the Context of the Venezuelan Flow to 30 Brazilian federal judges.
The training took place last week (5-7/12) at the Council of the Federal Justice (CJF) in Brasilia, with participants from five Brazilian federal jurisdictions, prioritizing those working in border areas and cities receiving relocated Venezuelans.
According to the most recent report from the Brazilian Federal Police, almost 200,000 Venezuelans crossed the Brazilian northern border since 2017. Authorities estimate that half of those remain in Brazil, triggering the need to implement a voluntary relocation programme to transfer beneficiaries to cities in other parts of the country.
IOM and the Brazil’s National Association of Federal Judges (AJUFE by its Portuguese acronym) signed an agreement to implement a project to improve judges’ technical capacity and expand migrants’ access to rights, with special attention paid to women and vulnerable migrants.
“In partnership with federal authorities IOM has provided nearly 20,000 Venezuelans with access to information to apply for resident permits in Brazil and support the relocation of other 3,000 Venezuelan nationals from Roraima to cities in other states,” said IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stéphane Rostiaux. “Now we aim to help the justice system to improve its capacity to deal with legal issues arising from this Venezuelan flow,” he added.
The IOM training is the second activity to take place under this memorandum of understanding, and it was preceded by an online training course on introduction to migration law, delivered to 20 federal judges.
“Judges need to better understand the Venezuelan flow in order to improve its institutional performance, assuring Venezuelans and the community’s rights,” emphasized AJUFE’s President, Judge Fernando Mendes. He explained that AJUFE implements ‘Citizenship Expeditions’ to bring justice-related services to vulnerable communities and that will soon promote an edition of this project in partnership with IOM to support the response in the Brazilian Northern border.
During the training, judges had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the many federal authorities leading the humanitarian response, including the Representative of the Office of the President Chief of Staff, Janira Borges; the Head of the Ministry of Justice Migration Department, André Furquim and the Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Migration Department, Rafael Pacheco.
Training modules included an introduction to international migration law, provided by IOM’s International Migration Law Officer, Anne Althaus, examining the main legal instruments available to Brazilian judges, and IOM’s Senior Regional Specialist on Migrants Assistance and Protection, Agueda Marín, addressing human trafficking and protections issues related to the Venezuelan flow.
Several discussion panels analyzed the challenges to the Justice System as seen by civil society organizations, the Office of the Federal Prosecutors, and the Office of the Federal Public Attorneys. The trainers list also included academics and a legislative analyst from the Senate House, providing participants with a broad view on the recent changes in the legal scenario introduced by the entering into force of Brazilian new migration law one year ago.
The training course is part of IOM’s Regional Action Plan, aiming to strengthen the regional response to flows from Venezuela, supporting the efforts that governments have initiated across the region. Also, the training is part of the IOM’s activities in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The project is related to at least five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals:
- Goal 1. No Poverty
- Goal 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Goal 10. Reduced Inequalities
- Goal 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Goal 17. Partnerships for the Goals
The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the United States’ State Department provided financial support to make this activity possible.