Operation: Opération: Brazil



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2016 end-year results
848 vulnerable families received financial assistance
100  children were engaged in Music Choir Project and 100 children were supported with complementary multidisciplinary education programme, with the aim to promote integration and raise awareness on protection needs of refugee children
33 refugee women were empowered through a UN Global Compact initiative which organized coaching sessions and workshops, set up an engagements coalition and sensitized over 120 private companies on refugee issues
18 people of concern were supported through a Creatathon with Google, in which refugees and local entrepreneurs come together to develop solutions to refugees’ needs
2017 planning figures
80% of pending asylum applications adjudicated at year-end
2,000 people of concern trained in Portuguese and life-skills and with access to labor market opportunities facilitated 
400 advocacy interventions made for effective access to national legal services and formulation of public policies

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2016 68,087
2015 35,790
2014 47,946


[["Refugees",9689],["Asylum-seekers",35464],["Stateless",4],["Others of concern",22930]]
Loading ...


< Back
2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"budget":[4.61620212,5.12118575,8.19637972,7.098857403,6.23346253,5.76667646],"expenditure":[2.58137628,2.63326259,2.73418992,2.83442588,2.7706671,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[4.61620212,4.91231784,8.08073631,6.913140803,5.99089301,5.57680196],"p2":[null,0.20886791,0.11564341,0.1857166,0.24256952,0.1898745],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[2.58137628,2.52868194,2.69922657,2.76896319,2.65545223,null],"p2":[null,0.10458065,0.03496335,0.06546269,0.11521487,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
Loading ...

  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Working environment

Brazil continues to play a key leadership role on refugee protection in the Americas, in line with the Brazil Plan of Action.
The country is one of the main recipients of asylum claims in the region. The number of asylum applications has increased significantly over the past six years, including most recently from Syrians and Venezuelans.
The Government in 2016 also pledged to increase support for local integration, and implement a state-funded resettlement programme for a total of 3,000 Syrians and displaced Central Americans in 2017 and 2018.
Nevertheless, the political and economic crisis in the country has challenged the promotion of livelihoods and self-reliance of people of concern. Despite UNHCR’s advocacy efforts, the lack of State policy for local integration of refugees also remains a challenge. 
Population trends
  • In 2016 the total population of concern in Brazil stood at some 68,000 people, including close to 9,700 refugees and 35,500 asylum-seekers
  • 10,288 new asylum claims were received, with Venezuela (6,975), Cuba (1,370), Angola (1,353) and Haiti (646) the top countries of origin. Syrian asylum claims totaled 391 by the end of 2016
  • 98,000 Haitians were granted humanitarian visas and permanent residency, based on forcible displacement for environmental reasons. Some 30,000 Haitians have reportedly left Brazil and travelled onwards.

Achievements and impact

  • The São Paulo Municipal Policy for Migrants and Refugees was supported to establish guidelines for hosting and integrating migrants and refugees at the municipal level.
  • UNHCR obtained observer status at the National Immigration Council.
  • The Migration Law was approved at the Lower House with UNHCR advocacy and technical comments on refugee issues, but was still pending approval by the Upper house and the President.
  • UNHCR held regional meetings in Porto Alegre and Quilicura, to draft an initial framework and criteria for Cities of Solidarity.

Unmet needs

  • Insufficient ownership of the refugee status determination (RSD) process by the Government resulted in a growing backlog of cases (29,200 at year-end). A weak registration system also affected case management and upholding of standards to ensure girls and boys have access to child-friendly RSD procedures.
  • The Convention on Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (including refugees) was not ratified
  • Lack of a Federal Plan on Local Integration, which would set out responsibilities for different stakeholders at all levels of the Brazilian federation..
  • A Stateless Status determination procedure remains to be established.
  • Given the very small office structure in Brazil, UNHCR has not be able to fully capitalize on the number of opportunities and outpour of interest from the Brazilian public, private sector and civil society to collaborate with UNHCR to help refugees

Operational context and population trends

The upcoming Olympic Games in 2016 will likely present increased labour opportunities for refugees and asylum-seekers living in the main urban centres of Brazil.

Due to the rising cost of living in major cities, adequate housing for new arrivals is becoming increasingly difficult to secure. UNHCR will address housing and labour issues by providing limited financial support to refugees through the regional mobility and socio-economic integration project. The initiative will also help identify livelihood opportunities for people of concern to UNHCR.

According to official statistics, the number of new asylum claims submitted in Brazil has increased by approximately 2,000% between 2010 and 2014 (from 566 to 12,000 claims). UNHCR estimates that the numbers of new asylum claims in the country will continue to rise, possibly surpassing 20,000 asylum claims in 2016.
  • Asylum-seekers in Brazil come from diverse backgrounds, with more than 80 different nationalities registered in 2014.
  • The majority originated from Senegal (1,731), followed by Nigeria (1,632), Syria (1,326) and Ghana (1,163).
  • The number of new arrivals from Syria has risen significantly, currently representing the majority of recognized refugees in the country (2.077); the number of Lebanese asylum-seekers has also increased by 74% between 2013 and 2014.

Key priorities in 2016

Priority will be given to support the implementation of the Brazil Declaration and Brazil Plan of Action. This will entail strengthening the RSD system as well as mobilizing and engaging the Government and increasing the number of partners to foster innovative solutions to facilitate integration. Activities include:
  • Strengthening the Comitê Nacional para os Refugiados (CONARE) and Brazil’s national RSD system.
  • Advocating for the approval of laws that enhance the protection space, such as national laws on migration and statelessness, as well as the ratification of the convention on the rights of migrant workers and their families.
  • Supporting the creation and implementation of a national integration strategy in order to respond to the demands of a growing refugee population.
  • Assisting with the implementation of regional solidarity mechanisms, such as the pilot project of refugee labour mobility, and the consolidation and expansion of the solidary resettlement programme.