Newly-inaugurated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made good on his promise to withdraw from the UN’s “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”.
The first of the two videos below was recorded on December 18, before Mr. Bolsonaro was inaugurated. The second is a news report that was posted yesterday.
The article below from O Globo (also translated by Lei Islâmica em Ação) reports on Brazil’s withdrawal from the UN migration pact:
BBC News: In a statement to diplomats, Bolsonaro government confirms exit from UN migration pact
In a telegram sent to missions abroad, Itamaraty [the Foreign Ministry] says that the country will not participate in the agreement signed in December and that it establishes guidelines for the reception of immigrants; for NGOs, the decision is ‘extremely regrettable’ and does not take into account the situation of Brazilians living abroad.
In a telegram issued on Tuesday (January 8), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Brazilian diplomats to inform the United Nations that Brazil had left the Global Compact for Migration, which the country had joined in December, at the end of the Michel Temer government.
BBC News Brazil gained access to the document in which the Ministry requests the missions of Brazil at the UN and in Geneva to “inform, by note, respectively, the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Director General of the International Migration Organization, in addition to any other interlocutors considered relevant, that Brazil dissociates itself from the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”
The document also says that Brazil should not “participate in any activity related to the pact or its implementation”.
Although requested, Itamaraty did not confirm the information until the publication of this report. However, diplomats told BBC News Brazil on condition of anonymity that the telegram is circulating within the Ministry system and reached the addressees.
In recent weeks President Jair Bolsonaro and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo had already announced on Twitter that the country would leave the pact. Araújo called it an “inadequate instrument to deal with the (migratory) problem,” arguing that “immigration should not be treated as a global issue, but rather according to the reality and sovereignty of each country.”
Human rights for migrants
Under negotiation since 2017, the pact established guidelines for the reception of immigrants. Among the points defined are the notion that countries should provide a coordinated response to migratory flows, that human rights guarantees should not be tied to nationalities, and that restrictions on immigration should be adopted as a last resort.
The document was channeled by about two-thirds of the 193 UN member states. Some powerful nations — in particular the USA, Italy, Australia and Israel, among others — opted out, evaluating that the pact violated state sovereignty.
Former Chancellor Aloysio Nunes Ferreira [of the Communist Party of Brazil — PCdoB], who represented Brazil in the negotiations, had already criticized the idea of abandoning the pact.
“The (migratory) question is rather a global issue: all regions of the world are affected by migratory flows, now as source, now as a transit place, now as a destination; hence the need for global responses,” he wrote on Twitter.
Aloysio also said that the pact does not “authorize indiscriminate migration” and “seeks only to serve as a reference for the ordering of migratory flows, without the slightest interference with the sovereign definition by each country of its migration policy.”
Conservative movements sympathetic to Bolsonaro’s candidacy were critical of the agreement.
In Brussels, a protest against the pact convened by far-right groups in December gathered around 5,000 people and ended in clashes between protesters and security forces.
Brazilian migrants abroad
For Camila Asano, coordinator of Foreign Policy of the NGO Conectas [funded by the Open Society Foundation], the abandonment of the agreement by Brazil is “extremely regrettable”.
“It shows that the government is not looking at all the people who need protection,” she said, noting that there are more Brazilian migrants living abroad than foreigners in Brazil.
According to Asano, in leaving the agreement, the Brazilian government does not consider the “many Brazilians who live in other countries and suffer from the denial of basic rights.”
She says the pact expresses a “very minimal, but still very valuable, consensus on what would be good practices for hosting flows.”
“Brazil is undermining one of its main international credentials: being a country made up of migrants and a migration policy seen as a reference, which has been giving Brazil a strong voice in international discussions on the issue,” she lamented.
Video transcript #1:
|00:00||News of interest and very important.|
|00:06||the current minister of foreign affairs sighed the UN Migration pact.|
|00:12||I think everybody knows what is going on in France.|
|00:15||It is simply impossible to live in certain places in France,|
|00:19||and the trend is an increase of intolerance.|
|00:22||Those who went there,|
|00:25||the French people welcomed the best possible way,|
|00:29||but … you know the behaviour of these people,|
|00:32||they have something inside them that|
|00:36||they do not abandon their roots and want to impose their culture,|
|00:39||their rights back there and their privileges,|
|00:44||and France is suffering from that, and a portion of the population, a portion of the armed forces|
|00:50||a portion of the institutions start to complain about that.|
|00:53||We do not want the same in Brazil.|
|00:57||We are not against immigrants, but to enter Brazil requires a rigorous criterion.|
|01:02||Otherwise, if depends on me, as Head of State, they will not enter.|
|01:06||And, through our minister of foreign affairs, who takes over with us in January,|
|01:11||we will revoke this Migration Pact that we do not agree with.
Video transcript #2:
|00:00||The Itamaraty [Foreign Ministry] communicated to diplomats in missions abroad that Brazil|
|00:04||will leave the UN immigration pact. The pact that was passed last year|
|00:09||established the parameters for welcoming immigrants.|
|00:14||Brazil joined the pact for less than a month under the decision of then-President|
|00:18||Michel Temer, accompanying the position of more than|
|00:22||120 out of 193 member countries. The document recommends that the detention of|
|00:28||immigrants be the last resort and for the shortest possible time,|
|00:32||prohibits collective deportations, and discrimination against immigrants in|
|00:36||access to justice, health and education. The pact urges countries to work together|
|00:42||in the exchange of political information concerning borders and in combating|
|00:47||people- trafficking. Today the Jair Bolsonaro government announced|
|00:50||the change of position in Brazil, as published at BBC Brazil website.|
|00:55||The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that Brazilian diplomats in New York,|
|00:59||in the United States, and Geneva, in Switzerland, communicate to the UN and the organization|
|01:04||international migration that Brazil is no longer a signatory to the global pact|
|01:09||for safe and orderly regular migration.|
|01:13||Even last December, before he assumed the duties after his inauguration,|
|01:16||President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo|
|01:21||said that Brazil would leave the pact. Araújo classified the agreement as an|
|01:26||inappropriate instrument to deal with the problem, also stated that migration|
|01:31||should not be treated as a global issue but rather according to reality|
|01:36||and the sovereignty of each country.|
|01:39||On the occasion Araújo also stated that Brazil will seek a regulatory framework|
|01:43||compatible with national reality and with the well-being of Brazilians and|
|01:48||foreigners. Similar positions were adopted by United States,|
|01:51||Italy, Switzerland, Australia and Israel and|
|01:55||two dozen other countries. The pact had been negotiated for two|
|01:58||years as a response to the migratory wave which mainly affected Europe.|
|02:03||About the government’s decision,|
|02:06||the spokesman for the UN reported to the newspaper that it is always regrettable when|
|02:10||a member country distances itself from the process,|
|02:13||especially a pact that is|
|02:16||so respectful of national particularities.|
|02:20||By UN estimates there are more than|
|02:23||258 million immigrants worldwide.|
|02:26||Only last year more than 3,300|
|02:29||people died or disappeared along|
|02:32||migratory routes. This professor of international relations|
|02:35||said that Brazil has more to lose than to gain by leaving|
|02:40||the pact. Brazil has no serious problem with immigration. We have a very|
|02:43||small group of immigrants in our population, about 0.4 per cent of|
|02:47||immigrants arriving in Brazil, and we have many more Brazilians living overseas|
|02:51||than foreigners living in Brazil. Then exiting the pact harms|
|02:56||more Brazilians than remaining|
|02:59||in the pact.