By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s General Attorney’s office (PGR) released a document on Wednesday (April 18th) opposing a request made by Roraima state’s governor to Brazil’s Supreme Court to temporarily close Brazil’s border with Venezuela and limit the number of refugees entering the country.

Brazil,Venezuelan boy plays along the dozens of tents set up in Boa Vista, Roraima for refugees.
Venezuelan boy plays along the dozens of tents set up in Boa Vista, Roraima for refugees, photo by Antonio Cruz/AgBr

“The closing of the border hinders both the protection of refugees and the Brazilian migration policy, resulting in an increase in illegal entry and illegal residence of these individuals, which would aggravate the social situation in the region,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Luciano Mariz Maia.

According Maia, the request to close the border or limit the number of refugees entering Brazil violates human rights obligations assumed by the country.

The request for temporarily closing the border was made last week by Roraima governor Suely Campos. “The social and economic imbalance that this strong migration is causing in our state was not foreseen in any international treaty,” stated Campos, claiming that the ‘exceptional’ circumstances of the situation requires harsher attitudes.

But although recognizing the significant increase in the flow of Venezuelans coming across the border, the General Attorney’s Office emphasizes that refugee protection in Brazil follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights treaty, which states that ‘each person has the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries without suffering persecution’.

Even Brazilian President, Michel Temer criticized the request. “This is not a habit of Brazil; Brazil does not close borders. I hope the Supreme Court will decide this way. Closing the ‘door’ is unquestionable,” he told reporters last weekend during the 8th Summit of the Americas in Peru.

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