Influencing policy on refugee protection in Brazil
Brazil is facing a range of challenges in protecting and caring for refugees. There are tens of thousands new arrivals from Venezuela. But there are also roughly 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in major Brazilian cities, including in Rio de Janeiro, many of them from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Many of them are struggling to find work.
In June, Rio de Janeiro´s state governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão, decided to veto a law that exempted refugees from taxes on the revalidation of foreign diplomas. This would limit their ability to gain lawful employment. Fortunately, the decision was overturned during a vote in the state congress. The Igarapé Institute, together with other institutions, supported this process.
In the meantime, the Brazilian national senate has also approved a new provisional law to provide emergency aid to refugees. Created in February, the provisional measure establishes a Federal Assistance Emergency Committee with the goal of helping new refugees settle and integrate. The measure has not yet been approved by the President, but the Institute is pushing hard for its approval.
The Igarapé Institute has also been speaking out about the zero tolerance immigration policy in the US. The hardening of laws has implications for migrants and asylum seekers across Mexico, Central America and Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. Many residents are fleeing from violence and are not being welcomed for sanctuary. Robert Muggah discussed the issues with the Washington Post, among others.
Check out a new article on Latin America’s refugee crisis, by Maiara Folly, Adriana Abdenur and Robert Muggah