Introductory Note to the Brasilia Declaration on the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Americas
International Legal Materials, Vol. 50, No. 3, p. 357, 2011
4 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2011
Date Written: July 27, 2011
In November 2010, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice hosted the 'International Meeting on Refugee Protection, Statelessness and Mixed Migratory Movements in the Americas' in Brasilia, Brazil. The meeting was intended to mark the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ('UNHCR') and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The meeting brought together most of the signatories to the 2004 Mexico Declaration and Plan of Action to Strengthen the International Protection of Refugees in Latin America - a document that seeks to 'strengthen mechanisms for protection and the search for solutions for refugees and other persons in need of protection in the region.' The meeting ultimately resulted in eighteen of the twenty participating nations pledging to improve their efforts to protect refugees and stateless persons in Latin America. On November 11, 2010, this agreement was codified in the Brasilia Declaration on the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Americas. The states that adopted the Brasilia Declaration are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The United States and Canada participated as observers in the Brasilia international meeting but did not sign and adopt the Declaration.
This introductory note briefly describes the regional legal context in which the Brasilia Declaration was adopted, why it is necessary or significant in that respect, and assesses its possible impact on the legal landscape of the Americas in light of the vulnerable populations it aims to protect.
Keywords: international law, refugees, Latin America, regional cooperation, immigration, migration, humanitarian affairs, forced migration
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