Organizations urge Conare to maintain interview stage for asylum seekers

On Thursday, the agency responsible for granting refugee status will decide on 17 applications that were rejected without the interview stage

Civil society organizations requested on Tuesday, February 9, that Conare (National Committee for Refugees) restore the stage of interviewing people seeking asylum in the country. On Thursday, February 11, the Committee will decide on 17 asylum requests that were rejected last year without the right to an interview.

The joint letter, signed by 16 organizations, was addressed to the seven members of Conare, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the Federal Police.

According to the rules of the Committee, which is the arm of the Ministry of Justice responsible for assessing asylum requests, all cases must be assessed through interviews with the applicant, even in cases that are “manifestly unfounded”. In these situations, the interview can be simplified, but not eliminated.

The letter also addresses the constitutional and legal grounds that require interviews to be held by stating that “in addition to violating constitutional principles of full defense, adversarial procedure and due legal process, the recommendations of the [aforementioned] bodies demonstrate that this decision [to reject the 17 asylum applications] also conflicts with article 9 of Law 9,474/1997 (Refugee Law), which states that ‘the authority to which the application is submitted [Conare] must hear the applicant’, and also with article 18, which establishes that ‘the competent authority shall notify the applicant to make statements’, and with article 19, which states that ‘in addition to the statements made, if necessary with the help of an interpreter, the foreigner must complete the application for recognition as a refugee…’, which demonstrates that there is an expectation that time will be spent orally in the deliberation procedure of the asylum application”.

“By automatically rejecting asylum applications without an interview and without any justification, Conare has infringed on the Committee’s own internal rules and it is also in conflict with the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” explained Camila Asano, program director at Conectas.

The joint letter was signed by the following organizations: Cáritas Brazil; Center for the Treatment of Migrants – CAM; Center for the Human Rights and Citizenship of Immigrants – CDHIC; Conectas Human Rights; FICAS; Missão Paz; Center for Study and Research on Environmental Displacements of the State University of Paraíba (NEPDA/UEPB); Pact for the Right to Migrate (PDMIG) – África do Coração; Cipó Platform; Jesuit Service for Migrants and Refugees – SJMR; Visão Mundial; and the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Chairs of the UFABC, UFF, UFMS, UFRR and Unifesp universities.

  • Read the document in full here.

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