Only five applications for refugee status by venezuelans were accepted by Brazil in 2018

Conare has announced an increase of 240% (61 thousand) in the number of applications for refugee status in the country in the period of one year

The number of requests for refugee status in Brazil increased by 240% in 2018. In total there were 80,057 applications, compared to 33,866 in 2017. Most of these were from Venezuelans who presented 61,681 applications, 81% of which were in Roraima. Of these, only five were granted by the Brazilian government last year.

The data appeared in the fourth edition of the report “Refúgio em Números” (Refugees in Numbers), published by Conare (National Committee for Refugees) and by ACNUR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) on 25 July.

Conare is responsible for receiving requests for refugee status and deciding whether applicants meet the necessary requirements to be granted this. In addition, the body also has the role of protecting and providing assistance to refugees in the country.

In June last year, the Committee decided to recognise conditions in Venezuela as “a grave and generalised violation of human rights”. This decision was valid for 12 months and was renewed this year. The classification permits less bureaucratic processes for granting refugee status to Venezuelans.  

The decision is underpinned by the Cartagena Declaration adopted in 1984 by Brazil and another 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries. It was by means of this Declaration that the definition of refugee was broadened in the region. 

According to Camila Asano, Conectas Project Coordinator, it is important to recognise Venezuelan migrants as refugees given the context of violations to which they are exposed. “This decision represents a huge step in protecting Venezuelan citizens who face rights violations on a daily basis in their country. In addition, it symbolizes a commitment by the Brazilian state to receive these people in the most humanitarian way possible.” She explains.

Camila also warns that it is necessary to carry out inspections and ensure that this commitment is being correctly applied in practice. “Around 100 thousand applications for refugee status are still awaiting a decision by Conare. It is our responsibility to closely monitor the implementation of this resolution. Any future deviation from this commitment will be flagged by civil society.” She stated. 


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