Chile and Brazil to receive Palestinian refugees

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR welcomes a decision by the Chilean government to receive 100 Palestinian refugees who had been living in Iraq, and who have been forced to live in destitute conditions on Iraq's borders over the past few years.

In recent years, UNHCR has repeatedly appealed for a humane solution for refugees on Iraq's borders with Syria and Jordan. With this generous offer, Chile joins Brazil, which in July accepted the resettlement of 117 Palestinian refugees.

The resettlement to Brazil is about to start. Three groups (with around 40 people each) will leave Ruwayshed camp in Jordan between the end of September and the middle of October. They will be settled in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul states, in the south-east and southern regions of Brazil. All of the Palestinians will receive rented accommodation, furniture and material assistance. Employment profiles are presently being analysed to ensure job opportunities for all. All of them will have the opportunity to attend classes in Portuguese.

The Palestinians are the first group of refugees from outside Latin America to benefit from the 'solidarity resettlement programme' under the Mexican Plan of Action. The Plan of Action was signed by 20 Latin American countries in 2004. It has so far mainly benefited Colombians.