This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Over 5,000 Venezuelans have been relocated from Brazil’s northern state of Roraima to 17 other states in the country, thanks to an innovative internal relocation programme supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee agency, civil society and other UN agencies such as IOM, UNFPA and UNDP.
According to official figures, Brazil has received more than 200,000 Venezuelans since 2017. Some 85,000 of them have lodged asylum claims, while some 40,000 have received temporary resident visas.
Venezuelans have left hyperinflation, shortages and political instability and sought safety in Brazil, most making the crossing by land. The flights aim to reduce the floating population in border regions, where many Venezuelans have lived on the streets and in hostels, with limited opportunities.
On Wednesday (March 13), an aircraft from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) took off with 225 Venezuelans from Boa Vista (the capital of the State of Roraima, some 200 kilometres from the border with Venezuela). The refugees and migrants chose to go to 13 different cities in Brazil and air transport was organized accordingly. More flights are scheduled over the next weeks.
The voluntary relocation initiative began in April 2018 and now involves 50 different cities all over Brazil. It was designed to reduce the pressure on host communities in the north of Brazil, where refugees and migrants have been arriving from Venezuela, compelled to flee their country due the difficult socio-economic, human rights and political situation.
UNHCR plays a key role in the implementation and coordination of Brazil’s internal relocation programme notably by identifying eligible beneficiaries among the residents of temporary shelter sites in Boa Vista and ensuring that people have the required documentation for travel.
The relocation initiative, implemented in coordination with Government, civil society, the private sector and other UN agencies on the basis of the Global Compact on Refugees, is creating new local integration opportunities for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in other parts of Brazil. Other modalities include family reunion and an employment opportunities programme in which refugees and migrants in Roraima are selected in advance by private companies and given jobs in other states. UNHCR is assisting participants with support for house rental and household expenses.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Brazil, Luiz Fernando Godinho, firstname.lastname@example.org, +55 61 818 709 78
In Panama City, William Spindler, email@example.com, +507 63 827 815
In Geneva, Babar Baloch, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 79 513 9549