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Brazil Will Resettle Refugees from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala

12/16/2016 - 12h03

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PATRÍCIA CAMPOS MELLO
FROM SÃO PAULO

At the beginning of the next year the Brazilian government will launch a program to resettle refugees called "Northern Triangle," comprised of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The region in Central America has the highest murder rates in the world (not including the zones that are at declared war).

In recent years, nearly 10% of the population of some 30 million in the region has emigrated due to problems connected to poverty and wars between gangs, most of them leaving their countries for the U.S.

However, many of them end up in overcrowded refugee camps with very poor sanitary conditions in Mexico and Costa Rica. The Brazilian government intends to offer shelter to some of these refugees.

The National Committee for Refugees (Conare) says that Brazil has some 8,863 refugees, most of them from Syria (2,298), Angola (1,420) and Colombia (1,100).

Twenty-five thousand other immigrants are living in Brazil while they await a decision from Conare on their request for permission to stay as refugees.

However, Brazil has very low rates of refugee resettlement - 700 people, in all. In 2015, only 33 refugees were resettled in the country.

Gustavo Marrone, the national Secretary of Justice and Citizenship and the president of Conare, says that the low numbers occur because the resettling process depends on resources of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Marrone says that R$ 1 million (US$ 285,000) will be set aside in the 2017 budget to implement a pilot project that aims to bring between 60 and 70 refugees from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala currently living in Mexico and Costa Rica, mainly children and women.

The American government has pressured several countries to accept a larger number of refugees from Central America.

At the summit on the issue of refugees organized by the White House, soon after a UN meeting on the same theme in September 2016, the countries agreed to increase the amount of resources to be transferred to a resettling fund for refugees.

Conare Secretary Gustavo Marrone says that, after the pilot project, the Brazilian government intends to resettle more refugees from the Northern Triangle using resources from this fund.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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