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

In 2019, UNHCR supported the Government’s emergency response and co-led the regional interagency coordination platform for refugees and migrants from Venezuela (R4V) to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the large number of arrivals. The operation also continued its activities in search of protection and solutions for people of concern to UNHCR of other nationalities.
An average of more than 500 people arrived per day in the border region of Roraima, most of whom were in desperate conditions and in urgent need of protection, food, shelter and health care. The exceptional pressure on local public services led to increased tensions with host communities.

Many people of concern to UNHCR had limited livelihood opportunities and resorted to living on the streets. The effects of displacement were also heightened for certain profiles, such as unaccompanied and separated children, SGBV survivors, victims of human trafficking, LGBTI people at risk, people with medical conditions and the elderly. The increased arrival of indigenous people in northern states required culturally appropriate responses, including sleeping arrangements and information in relevant languages. Though many Venezuelans benefited from access to social programmes, access to specialized health services remained challenging.

Population trends

The number of Venezuelans arriving in Brazil continued to increase, reaching a total of some 253,000 by November 2019. Venezuelans remained the largest asylum-seeking population in Brazil, while over 120,000 Venezuelans held temporary residence permits. In December 2019, the National Refugee Commission (CONARE) recognized some 20,500 Venezuelans as refugees on an individual prima facie basis, bringing the total number of Venezuelans recognized as refugees to more than 32,300.

According to government figures, 219,000 asylum claims were pending by November 2019. The main nationalities were Venezuelan (130,000), Haitian (26,900), Cuban (9,800), Senegalese (6,000) and Bangladeshi (5,100).


  • The first-ever State-funded resettlement programme was launched, benefitting some 25 refugees.
  • UNHCR supported the functioning of 20 temporary shelters managed by civil society across Brazil.
  • Socio-economic and labour market assessments were concluded in order to better target UNHCR programmes and advocacy on livelihoods.
  • UNHCR coordinated the working group on protection of non-admitted foreigners at South America’s largest international airport, Guarulhos Airport, as well as at Rio’s Galeão Airport, making sure that anyone detained had access to asylum procedures.
  • At Rio’s Galeão Airport, UNHCR’s advocacy resulted in the establishment of a “care post”, providing a safe and dignified space and support for those seeking access to asylum.  
  • Following advocacy by UNHCR, CONARE applied the Cartagena Declaration’s extended refugee definition, as well as prima facie recognition procedures, for Venezuelan cases.

Unmet needs

  • The distribution of people of concern across a country as large as Brazil presented serious challenges in reaching the most vulnerable. UNHCR prioritized the most vulnerable in areas where the highest concentration of people of concern were located.
  • Due to limited funding, the operation was only able to provide complementary support to fill gaps in emergency shelter in Roraima and was unable to address shelter needs more comprehensively including in other locations.
  • The implementation of SGBV prevention mechanisms, development of community-based protection initiatives, tailored responses for indigenous people and implementation of a comprehensive response for unaccompanied children were hindered by budget constraints.

Operational Environment

Venezuelans continue to arrive in Brazil due to the on-going political and socio-economic developments in Venezuela. Some 98,000 Venezuelans are estimated to be in Brazil as of end of November 2018. Most people enter Brazil through the bordering state of Roraima, and come with urgent needs, including those for food, shelter, and health services. Brazil declared a state of emergency as a result of this humanitarian crisis, with the Federal Government implementing an open border policy and a robust emergency response for Venezuelans, including through an innovative internal relocation process to other states of the country, with the support of UNHCR and humanitarian actors.
In 2018, a Federal Emergency Assistance Committee was set up and financial resources were allocated to the army to strengthen reception and admission capacity, as well as to scale up activities in the areas of health, sanitation and public security. Asylum-seekers with certificates or residence permits enjoy the right to work and have access to public services, equal to that of nationals. The Federal Government is expected to continue to engage in the humanitarian response, including in areas of reception and the provision of documentation, health and internal relocation. The Brazilian Refugee Commission (CONARE) is expected to recognize the international protection needs of Venezuelans and address the growing backlog of refugee claims of all nationalities in accordance to international standards. Brazil is also expected to deliver on its commitments for State-funded resettlement programme and a network of private sponsors for resettled refugees.
The UN Country Team Task Force for the Venezuela situation, co-led by UNHCR and IOM (known as the Task Force for the Refugee and Migrants Response Platform Brazil) now includes civil society organization as well UN Agencies and coordinates humanitarian and inter-agency efforts. At field level, working groups and other partnerships will continue to operate to strengthen the coordination at the point of delivery.
Brazil’s Multi-Year Multi-Partner (MYMP) Strategy, which currently focuses on the refugee status determination and backlog (RSD), the implementation of the Brazil Plan of Action’s Borders of Solidarity Programme, and on the promotion of effective access to public services and livelihoods opportunities, is being revised to reflect to include the latest developments in terms of emergency response and political context.
As the influx of Venezuelan remains high, Brazil is expected to ensure the emergency response to this population is sustained, refugee policies remain inclusive, and the country continues to play a leadership role in the region.

Key priorities

In 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Providing direct emergency response, which entails ensuring effective access to the territory, timely registration/regularization/documentation, and issuance of documentation for all people of concern, in particular those entering through the state of Roraima, as well as access to basic and essential services in particular health, shelter, education and food.
  • Strengthening its protection monitoring and community outreach (including communication with communities) to ensure a swift identification, referral of vulnerable groups and access to specialized services.
  • Developing and improving support spaced and activities for people with specific protection needs (including indigenous populations)
  • Supporting the voluntary relocation of people of concern to other cities within Brazil with better local integration prospects and more structured protection networks, in addition to promoting local integration and peaceful coexistence through the implementation of specific projects (of financial inclusion, access to education and livelihoods notably).
  • Continuing to support the Government of Brazil in improving the quantity and quality of RSD decisions, while clearing the existing backlog and strengthen a state-funded resettlement programme as well as a network of private sponsors for resettled refugees.
  • Expanding cash-based interventions to the most vulnerable, as well as advocating for the removal of legal barriers hindering access of people of concern to existing national social programmes.
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