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By Kristy Siegfried | 6 December, 2019


Brazil recognizes thousands of Venezuelans as refugees. Brazil’s National Committee for Refugees (CONARE) announced on Thursday that from now on it will recognize Venezuelan asylum-seekers as refugees on a prima facie basis. The new approach means that asylum claims from Venezuelans will be processed through an accelerated procedure, without the need for an interview. Some 21,000 of over 120,000 Venezuelan asylum-seekers registered in the country immediately benefited from the decision. UNHCR welcomed the move, describing it as a “milestone” for refugee protection in the region, and called on other countries to follow suit. To benefit from the new provision, Venezuelan asylum-seekers will have to meet certain criteria, including being resident in the country, possessing a Venezuelan identity document and not having a criminal record in Brazil.

Risk of more flooding and displacement as rains batter East Africa. Two months of relentless rains have submerged villages and farms across East Africa, killing at least 265 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of people in countries already host to large numbers of internally displaced people and refugees. With Tropical Storm Pawan expected to make landfall in Somalia this evening, more flooding is expected over the weekend and aid agencies are warning of the risk of waterborne diseases and worsening hunger resulting from destroyed crops. Al Jazeera reports from South Sudan, where flooding has been particularly severe and is affecting people recovering from years of civil war. The unusually heavy rainfall is being driven by warmer than usual temperatures in the Indian Ocean.


Donors pledge US$1.2 billion to support refugees in 2020. At an annual conference in Geneva on Thursday, donor governments pledged US$1.2 billion to the UN refugee agency to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to tens of millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people in 2020 and beyond. UNHCR estimates it will need $8.7 billion to fund its programmes next year. In a statement on Thursday, UNHCR said the gap between needs and available funding continues to grow as multiple conflicts remain unresolved and more people are uprooted from their homes. Donors are expected to pledge additional funding, as well as new policies and good practices, at the Global Refugee Forum set to take place in Geneva from 17 to 18 December.

Fleeing conflict but finding hunger in north-western Nigeria. Al Jazeera reports from a hospital in the north-west Nigerian state of Zamfara, where Médecins Sans Frontières is treating increasing numbers of children from displaced communities for severe acute malnutrition. Fighting and banditry between indigenous Hausa farmers and Fulani herdsman has displaced some 60,000 people in Zamfara and another 100,000 across two other north-western states – Sokoto and Katsina. Another 40,000 people have fled into Niger. Already endemic malnutrition in the region is being exacerbated by displacement as families who relied on farming and rearing cattle lose their livelihoods.

Innovative groups help refugees settle in US cities. The Guardian profiles the NGO Refugee Response in Cleveland, Ohio, which provides social support, tutoring and counselling to the more than 2,500 refugees who have been resettled to the city in the last decade, many of them from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Refugee Response’s services include the provision of additional support to refugees attending high school who may have been exposed to traumatic situations, inconsistent schooling and other obstacles specific to people fleeing conflict zones. Another programme provides refugees work on one of the largest urban farms in the country.


Meet seven refugees with disabilities who are challenging misconceptions and advocating for more inclusive societies.


To date, over 750,000 asylum claims have been filed by Venezuelans worldwide, the majority in Latin American countries and the Caribbean.