Professor CLARENCE LUSANE, American University School of International Service
According to professor Lusane, Brazil is attractive for a number of
reasons. One is that it has a large black population. But it's also attractive because it
actually has extremely progressive refugee policies and those are known increasingly
around the world among refugees. And that attraction and the word of mouth that has
spread around the receptivity of people coming to Brazil has meant that there's been a
large increase of people of African descent, both from the continent of Africa but also
from the Caribbean.
About the policies and what happens to migrants or refugees if they're arriving without
This goes back to 2004. There was an agreement signed called the Mexico
Plan of Action to strengthen international protection of refugees. And it was signed by
20 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Canada - 16 other countries.
And what it did was to create a broad framework under which rights were designated that
were to be available for people who were coming as refugees or people who were seeking
asylum. And this was really important because it meant, unlike in Europe, for example,
there are rights that refugees have. For example, the right to freedom of movement.
In many European countries, you're very restricted to not only certain cities but certain
parts of certain cities, where in Brazil, once you're accepted as a refugee; you can pretty much go anywhere. You also have a right to work. You also have rights in terms of access to education, access to health care.
Now all of this is listed as rights and all of this is, in a broad context,
very progressive framework. The reality of how these things are actually carried out,
though, can be very, very different.