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Resettlement of Afghan refugees in Brazil

Briefing notes

Resettlement of Afghan refugees in Brazil

12 April 2002

Ten Afghan refugees resettled in Brazil from Iran are due to arrive in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre today. They are expected to be joined by 13 other refugees arriving from India towards the end of April. This is the first group to arrive under a 1999 resettlement agreement between the Federal Republic of Brazil and UNHCR. It is hoped that their arrival will be followed by approximately 80 other refugees before the end of 2002 and - based on the experience - by others in the years to come.

Brazil is now the second country in Latin America, after Chile, to take in resettled refugees, and the 17th worldwide. UNHCR highly welcomes this important step in support of international co-operation and solidarity on behalf of refugees. We will provide our full support to the Brazilian government, its local partners and to the refugees to help in their full integration in Brazilian society.

Brazil has, over the past 50 years, been a regional leader in refugee protection. In 1951, along with Venezuela, it was one of the first two countries in Latin America to become a member of UNHCR's Executive Committee. In 1960, it became the first country in the Southern Cone (South of Latin America) to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention, and in 1997 the first to pass a national refugee law. It is still the only country in the region to have done so. It currently hosts some 3,000 refugees from 50 different countries, including over 1,600 from Angola.

For a small percentage of refugees around the world who cannot return home and cannot safely remain in the first country to host them, resettlement to a third country is sometimes the only durable solution available to protect them.