Closing borders to migrants flies in the face of Bolsonaro´s official speech at the UN
A new ordinance upholds restrictions on the entry of people in vulnerable situations, but allows entry for tourists and investors
Brasilia DF 22 09 2020 President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the opening ceremony of the meeting of heads of state at the UN. Photo: video conference.
A new ordinance, issued on Thursday 24, upholds restrictions on the entry of migrants into the country, by land or waterways. The measure, renewed on a monthly basis since March, flies in the face of the government´s official speech to the international community.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the UN´s 75th General Assembly, on Tuesday 22, President Jair Bolsonaro stated that the country “stands out in humanitarian and human rights matters and that it is becoming an international reference given its commitment and dedication in providing support to Venezuelan refugees who come into Brazil at the border in Roraima.”
However, although the government has eased restrictions to allow tourists and foreigners with investor residency visas to enter the country by air, conditions for migrants in vulnerable situations are quite the opposite to this. Access for people seeking asylum in the country is still not allowed and there are also specific, stricter restrictions for those coming from Venezuela.
A few days earlier, during the visit of the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo to Roraima, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, also highlighted the work of Operação Acolhida, carried out with partial financial assistance from the USA.
According to Camila Asano, Programme Director at Conectas, the Minister´s stance and the President´s speech are at the very least, hypocritical and government moves, such as the renewal of the ordinance on borders in its current format, reveal the government´s lack of commitment to human rights and particularly towards migrants and refugees.
The new ordinance contains the same text as the previous one, with the addition of the withdrawal of the restrictions on airports to allow the entry of tourists and foreigners with visas. From this month, all airports in the country are authorised to allow entry.