UNHCR welcomes renewed commitment to protect refugees by Latin American and Caribbean states at key meeting
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomed today the renewed commitment by States in Latin America and the Caribbean region to strengthen protection and achieve solutions in situations of displacement and statelessness at a key meeting in Brazil.
“This is a powerful global example for refugee protection,” said High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who also encouraged them to keep their borders open to refugees, as the number of asylum seekers is growing in the region.
His comments were made during a meeting in Brasilia on 19-20 February, where representatives of the authorities and civil society reflected on the experience and good practices developed in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of the “100 points of Brasilia” – a text that will serve as the region’s contribution to the global compact on refugees, which will be proposed to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018.
“The 100 points of Brazilia show that we have made 100 good steps in the direction of managing better what is without any doubt one of the defining challenges of our times,” said Grandi.
The High Commissioner hailed the region’s innovative initiatives as being “rooted in reality” and for prioritizing the most vulnerable, including survivors of sexual abuse and gender violence, and unaccompanied and separated children.
Among the region’s life-saving mechanisms are resettlement programs and humanitarian visas for Syrian nationals, the establishment of humanitarian evacuation mechanisms for people at high risk in Central America, and the creation of an intra-regional transfer mechanism for refugees in the Caribbean.
Most importantly, six countries have adopted the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) – a collective action plan to strengthen protection and promote durable solutions among countries of origin, transit and destination.
In Brasilia, Grandi noted UNHCR’s readiness to provide further support to Latin America and the Caribbean, in order to strengthen asylum systems and simplify procedures, while respecting the principle of non-refoulement and the right to seek and receive asylum.
The meeting was organized by the Brazilian Government, in cooperation with UNHCR during the evaluation of the third year of the implementation of the Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action. Both were adopted in December 2014 by 28 countries and three territories in Latin America and the Caribbean to address new displacement trends and end statelessness by 2024.