INDIGENOUS INTEGRATION, AUTONOMY AND LEADERSHIP
Indigenous refugees face the triple burden of discrimination, because of their forced displacement from the country of origin, greater difficulties to access sustainable livelihoods and the social stigma of their indigenous identity. UNHCR believes that the key to reverse this situation is supporting processes of empowerment of indigenous people, who can become the leaders of tomorrow. Guided by these ideas, UNHCR, the Insikiran Institute (Federal University of Roraima) and Fraternidade - Federação Humanitária Internacional (FFHI) de- vised a highly successful leadership capacity building programme, the Círculos de Diálogo Makunaimî.
In August, 60 Venezuelan indigenous refugees from different ethnicities finalized the first phase of the initiative. The project was initiated in November 2020, and is part of UNHCR’s community-based protection strategy, as an effort to support indigenous communities to better articulate their demands for local integration opportunities and propose their own solutions to identified challenges. Through meetings with community leaders, participants had the opportunity to discuss, exchange and learn relevant knowledge for indigenous communities, including international law and human rights, with focus on the rights of the indigenous people. While acquiring valuable information, the project allows the groups to play a stronger and more active role in their own integration pathways in Brazil. In the second phase, the Círculos Makunaimî is going to support the development of an organization for representing Venezuelan indigenous people in Brazil.