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Brazil Operation: COVID-19 Response, October 2021

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OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

As of 31 October, Brazil registered a total of 21,821,124 confirmed cases and 607,922 deaths from COVID-19. This month, Brazil reached more than half the population (58%) with complete vaccination against COVID-19, ranking as the fifth country in South America to achieve this mark, and more than 70% of the population with at least one dose.

On 4 and 5 October, the second virtual meeting of National Committees for Refugees (CONARES) of MERCOSUR States Party and Associated Countries was organized under the Pro Tempore Presidency of Brazil. Brazil’s Presidency, held throughout the second semester of 2021, which will pass onto Paraguay in the first semester of 2022.

In the first week of October, UNHCR Brazil’s Representative, José Egas, went on mission to the states of Espírito Santo and Paraná. In Espírito Santo, the Representative met with different State Secretariats, visited the Federal University (UFES) that is part of the Cátedra Sérgio Vieira de Mello (CSVM) network, and participated in meetings with the Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship of the Legislative Assembly and with the Federal and State Public Defender’s Office (DPU/DPE) to follow up on coordination issues for reception of Venezuelans in the state. In Paraná, the Representative visited Casa do Migrante as well as the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA), exploring the opportunity for the University to join the CSVM network. Lastly, UNHCR Representative signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Municipality of Foz de Iguaçu, aiming at promoting joint actions to strengthen the reception, protection and local integration of refugees and migrants in the city.

On 19 October, UNHCR together with IMDH held the XVII Meeting of the Solidarity Network for Migrants and Refugees (RedeMiR) with the theme “Migration and refuge: reception, protection and integration in times of pandemic”. In its third day, UNHCR Brazil Representative, José Egas, led the session on ‘’resilience: challenges, opportunities and strategies to strengthen the protection of refugees and migrants’’.

On the same day, the Legislative Assembly of Pacaraima organized a public hearing to bring together municipal secretaries, political and indigenous leaders, civil and military police, Congress representatives, DPU and high-level officers of Operation Welcome and discuss the situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in the city, including the higher number of people in the street.

In the last week of October, President Bolsonaro visited Roraima for the second time in less than a month. Together with the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Citizenship and the Minister of Justice, the President visited Rondon 5 shelter in Boa Vista and talked to refugees and migrants. Bolsonaro had promised to visit Pacaraima to give visibility to the work of Operation Welcome, but eventually limited his visit to Boa Vista only.