Brazil houses 9,000 recognized refugees from 78 countries, especially from Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia and Angola, and this is a growing number due to humanitarian crises and armed conflicts in different parts of the world. In the last 6 years, the number of asylum, seekers-seekers increased over 2,860%, according to the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE).
Gabriel Godoy, protection officer in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that in 2010 the country received 500 asylum requests per year and it currently receives 1,200 per month. In 2015, it received more than 28,000 requests: "The global reality has created an impact on Brazil, which has seen an exponential increase in asylum-seekers. Brazil's refugee system has to be reorganized in order to develop its ability to respond to this growing volume of demands. This requires more financial and human resources," he said.
The statement was made during a seminar on the refugees' situation, commissioned by UNHCR, in partnership with Caritas Brazil (an entity that stands up for social and human rights, linked to the Catholic Church), this Thursday (Jun. 16), in Rio de Janeiro. Godoy defended the creation of a National Plan for Local Integration to ensure more rights to refugees: "The guidelines on the reception [of asylum-seekers] are already in the Constitution, but they must be, indeed, enforced."
The Congolese Charle Congo has lived in Rio for eight years, fleeing the armed conflict in his country, he cited the language and prejudice as the main obstacles to adapt to the new country. "Many people think that a refugee is a fugitive, they do not like refugees. The protocol we receive when we arrive does not help either, it's a piece of paper that leaves some employers unsure [about it]. They think it is worth nothing. " Currently, he is married to a Brazilian woman and has a Brazilian child, he considers himself almost a Brazilian: "Then we get used to it. Today, I have the same difficulties and advantages of Brazilian people. "
Also Congolese, Naomi Kaka, 23, has lived in Brazil for just over a year and a half and said that she was studying accounting in her country. "For me, the greatest difficulty is finding a job," she mentioned. Until the moment, Kaka has not contacted her family back in Congo.
Aline Thuller, who coordinates aid programs for refugees at Caritas in Rio, explained that the number of Congolese women, pregnant or with children, coming alone to Brazil continues to grow. "Congo is considered nowadays the world's capital of sexual violence against women. So if a family can afford sending someone to another country, they choose the women or children, because they are in a more vulnerable situation. And that number [of refugees] tends to increase as it is an election year, in a country whose president is a dictator, which may intensify the conflicts," she said.
During the seminar, the speakers also defended that the list of refugees should include those persecuted for their sexual orientation. "Unfortunately, same-sex relationship is still illegal in 86 countries in the world and it is punished with death penalty in 6 countries. "Brazil has responded to these requests and this is a good practice, but it is still a challenge. UNHCR argues that the term refugee should be expanded," declared Gabriel Godoy.
*With additional radio reporting by Joana Moscatelli for Radiojornalismo EBC
Translated by Amarílis Anchieta
Fonte: Agência Brasil.