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UNHCR chief pushes for refugee rights in Brazil

08-04-2011 15:19 BJT

BRASILIA, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres finished a three-day visit to Brazil Wednesday, during which he asked the country's congress to approve a law recognizing the rights of stateless people.

At a press conference, Guterres said Brazil is a leader in refugee protection and stressed the importance of laws protecting the rights of immigrants and refugees.

"Right now, there is in the Congress a range of issues of great importance relating to the status of foreigners ... I hope to see soon a project from the Ministry of Justice to recognize the rights of stateless people," he said.

Guterres noted in a meeting Tuesday with Antonio Patriota, Brazil's foreign minister, that Brazil has a solidarity resettlement program for people from Ecuador and Colombia, adding Brazil is a global pioneer in authorizing Palestinians to stay.

The UNHCR is negotiating with the Brazilian government the possibility of Brazil's offering shelter to refugees from Muslim countries experiencing political crises, Guterres said.

According to statistics, there are 4,306 refugees from 77 countries living in Brazil, of which 39 percent are Angolans, 14 percent Colombians and 10 percent Congolese.

Brazil contributed 3.5 million U.S. dollars to the UNHCR in 2010, compared with a mere 50,000-dollar donation in 2009.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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