Operation: Opération: Brazil



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Key Figures

2020 year-end results
23,660 people of concern to UNHCR registered and assisted
14,404 refugees and migrants hosted in emergency shelters
100,000 people counselled on health, access to rights, and protection from violence and exploitation
20,678 people benefitted from legal counselling and services for persons with specific needs
9,696 people supported with vocational training, support to find a job and language courses, among others
49,978 people received core relief items, including 621,488 hygiene items
8,045 refugees and migrants received multipurpose cash assistance for meeting basic needs
2021 planning figures
30,000 individuals will receive support for voluntary relocation across Brazil
30,000 people will receive humanitarian assistance including shelter, multipurpose grants and core relief items

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2020 420,205
2019 363,683
2018 203,790


[["Refugees",59147],["Asylum-seekers",203065],["Stateless",14],["Venezuelans displaced abroad",157979]]
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2020 {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"budget":[6.23346253,5.860249463000001,15.972889039999998,26.54061601,46.61305644,52.48059644],"expenditure":[2.7706671000000003,4.47202941,12.318508549999999,21.49581311,24.09695096,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[5.99089301,5.670374963,15.79689752,26.54061601,46.61305644,52.48059644],"p2":[0.24256951999999998,0.1898745,0.17599151999999998,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[2.65545223,4.33812641,12.15112536,21.49581311,24.09695096,null],"p2":[0.11521487,0.133903,0.16738319000000002,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Operational context 

The operational environment in Brazil changed drastically in 2018 due to the deteriorating situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In July 2018, the emergency level was elevated from Level 1 to Level 2, as the number of Venezuelans arriving in Brazil and the accompanying protection, assistance and operational capacity needs continued to rise. Some 800 people arrived in Roraima State each day, which resulted in the Government declaring a state of emergency. UNHCR stepped up its operational response through strengthening and consolidating its presence in the cities of Boa Vista, Brasilia, Manaus, Pacaraima and Sao Paulo, while reinforcing its activities supporting the federal and local authorities.
The federal emergency response focused on reception and documentation of new arrivals, provision of emergency shelter to the most vulnerable and voluntary internal relocation programme to move Venezuelans from Roraima to other parts of Brazil. UNHCR provided support for biometric registration and documentation and coordination of shelter activities.
The role of Brazil as an emerging resettlement country was strengthened and consolidated through the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism. This was launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, and provides a platform to facilitate strategic support and capacity-building efforts for the development of robust and sustainable resettlement programmes in new resettlement countries.

Population trends

The total population of concern in Brazil stood at some 203,800 at year-end – an increase of some 37% from the end of 2017. This includes 11,300 refugees and 152,700 asylum-seekers, with the majority from Venezuela. Other nationalities of asylum-seekers include Haiti (7,030), Cuba (2,750) and China (1,450).
By the end of 2018, there were also some 40,000 Venezuelans who have applied for temporary residence.

Key achievements

Important developments were achieved in the framework of the multi-year, multi-partner strategy. Reception mechanisms were developed in border areas and main points of arrival, including strengthened access to information, documentation and referral systems.
UNHCR responded to the sudden increase in needs in Brazil through emergency deployments. Furthermore, continuous training in emergency preparedness, shelter management and SGBV prevention were provided to local government partners and civil society.
UNHCR also began to identify avenues for solutions. For example, a voluntary relocation programme facilitated the move of over 4,000 Venezuelans from border areas in Brazil to other cities with greater employment opportunities and services, to enhance socioeconomic integration. UNHCR supported the relocation process through the management of two transit centres in Roraima and support to shelters throughout Brazil.
To improve access to livelihoods and strengthen economic inclusion, UNHCR completed, in partnership with ILO, a market assessment and value chain analysis in Brazil.

Unmet needs

Due to funding constraints:
  • UNHCR was unable to scale up its support to the government to provide shelter in the areas affected by the influx from Venezuela as well as the relocation programme with more shelters.
  • Cash assistance programme could only cover the most vulnerable people.
  • Communities could not be assisted with quick impact activities or community based projects that promote peaceful coexistence between refugee and hosting communities.
  • Legal assistance and protection was provided but additional initiatives such as specialized legal services and representation, legal clinics were not implemented.

Working environment

UNHCR works in a favourable environment, although under a challenging political context. Recent turmoil in Brazil’s political scenario have brought uncertainty in the level of the Government’s engagement in refugee issues.
Brazil currently hosts close to 9,000 refugees. Asylum claims in Brazil will continue to increase in 2018, due to the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.
At the 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, Brazil committed to admit 1,500 people affected by the crisis in Syria by combining their humanitarian visa programmes with private sponsorship programmes, including for UNHCR-referred refugees. In addition, Brazil has pledged to establish a state-funded resettlement programme for people from the North of Central America (NCA) by the end of 2018. Uruguay has also committed to receive families from the NCA.
The population of concern has access to basic public services, such as health, education, housing and poverty relief. However, the persistent economic crisis remains a challenge for the promotion of livelihoods and self-reliance.
UNHCR works with the Government’s on judiciary and legislative issues, and implements activities with civil society organizations and other UN agencies. In addition, UNHCR has reinforced its partnership with universities to provide legal services, language courses and assistance with diploma validation.  UNHCR also advocates for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to include people of concern in national programmes.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Reinforcing and fostering cross-border monitoring and protection networks; developing reception, referral and response capacities, and emergency preparedness with national and local stakeholders;
  • Supporting federal authorities on capacity building, registration system, physical verification and case management system towards developing quality asylum systems and promoting high protection standards;
  • Promoting local integration policies and livelihoods opportunities to ensure self-reliance of people of concern;
  • Advocating for the establishment of a statelessness determination procedure, alongside with facilitated naturalization solutions for stateless persons;
  • Promoting a sustainable national resettlement programme and other forms of humanitarian admission schemes.
Latest contributions
  • 25-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 24-NOV-2021
  • Germany
  • 23-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 22-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • Japan

    private donors

  • 18-NOV-2021

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Romania
  • Qatar
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 17-NOV-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 15-NOV-2021
    United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • 12-NOV-2021
  • 11-NOV-2021
  • Angola
  • 09-NOV-2021
  • 08-NOV-2021
  • Hungary