Key Brazilian border crossing for Venezuela refugees reopens as asylum numbers pass last year’s total

UNHCR/Reynesson Damasceno
UNHCR staff verify and assist Venezuelan refugees, asylum seekers and persons of concern at the recently opened Rondon I shelter in Boa Vista, Roraima, in northern Brazil.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Some 117,000 Venezuelans have claimed asylum already this year — more than for the whole of 2017 — the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday, after welcoming a decision by the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court to reverse the closure of the country’s border with its northern neighbour.

“UNHCR welcomes last night’s decision of the Court to overturn a decision by a Federal Judge in Roraima border state, to suspend admission of Venezuelans to the country and close the border,” said the agency’s spokesperson William Spindler.

In Geneva, Mr. Spindler added that hundreds of Venezuelans cross into Brazil’s northern Roraima state near the small border city of Pacaraima every day, in search of safety.

The route was blocked temporarily on Monday, when the frontier was closed in line with the initial decision by a federal judge in Roraima. Hours later it was overturned by Brazil’s higher federal court.

More than 200 Venezuelans were unable to finalize their immigration registration during the brief closure on Monday, but they were not deported or pushed back over the border, according to the UN agency.

Today, Brazil is home to more than 32,700 Venezuelan asylum seekers; another 25,000 are legally permitted to stay in the country, as they have work or residency permits, or similar.

“The total number of Venezuelan asylum seekers this year — this is asylum claims everywhere — is 117,000 … and this figure surpasses the total number of claims made last year,” Spindler told journalists in Geneva.

The development comes amid reports of widespread food and medicine shortages, skyrocketing inflation, political unrest and violence in Venezuela.

Just last month, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) published a report highlighting the Venezuelan Government’s continuing failure to hold perpetrators of “serious human rights violations” accountable, including “killings, the use of excessive force against demonstrators, arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture”.

Noting “tensions” at the frontier between Roraima residents and the newcomers, the UNHCR spokesperson said that the agency would continue to support efforts to meet the needs of those arriving in Brazil.

Until now, the authorities have traditionally welcomed anyone in need of protection and provided them access to basic rights and services, Spindler said, adding that movement between borders in Latin America is often very fluid.

“There were some tensions between the local people and Venezuelans,” he said. “We understand that there has been a large influx in Roraima and that’s why we are helping the authorities to cope with the situation.”

To date, UNHCR has helped more than 800 Venezuelans relocate to other areas in Brazil in order to alleviate the strain on the state, which has seen the greatest influx of people seeking shelter.

The UN agency says that most of those abandoning Venezuela for Brazil — and neighbouring Colombia — need urgent assistance with documentation, shelter, food and health care, which it seeks to provide by working with the authorities and partner organizations.

Among those helped by UNHCR are a growing number of indigenous people left vulnerable by food shortages.

They include the family of 33-year-old Warao community leader, Eligio Tejerina, whose youngest child died after falling sick with pneumonia.

“Since they were out of medicine, she could not receive proper treatment,” the 33-year-old Warao community leader said.

His surviving five children were already weakened and distressed by hunger. No longer able to find food in the local market, their only option was to leave, Tejerina explained.

“We decided to come to Brazil because our children were starving,” he said. “They used to cry from hunger. They were having only one meal a day, at night. Just a little portion.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From the Field: Women push for peace

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Human rights breaches in Azerbaijan and Sudan

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Coronavirus: The truth against the myths

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Why embracing human rights will ensure Artificial Intelligence works for all

4 ways digitisation can unlock Africa’s recovery

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

This is how we can empower 8 billion minds by 2030

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

This is why people live, work and stay in a growing city

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

Living in the mouth of the shark: we are all refugees

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

How to push out of our comfort zones – an extract

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Subsidiarity and Proportionality: Task Force presents recommendations on a new way of working to President Juncker

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

What if the doctor become a patient?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Belgium eases lockdown with free train tickets for every citizen

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

How video games can reunite a divided world

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s