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Brazil's Bolsonaro Rejects Global Migration Pact


Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Jan. 7, 2019.

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro reaffirmed his rejection of a global migration pact, saying decisions about who was able to come into his country need to be "sovereign."

His comments, posted in a series of messages on his Twitter account, reinforced Bolsonaro's declaration before he took office last week that he was going to pull Brazil out of the migration compact that was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December.

His government has already abandoned the accord, according to several reports and a diplomatic source speaking to AFP, but no public confirmation has yet been made.

His stance aligns Bolsonaro with US President Donald Trump, with both leaders dismissing any multilateral approach to immigration for their countries.

"Brazil is sovereign in deciding whether or not to accept migrants... Not anybody can come into our home, not anybody can enter Brazil via a pact adopted by others. NO TO THE MIGRATION PACT," Bolsonaro tweeted.

He added that his country would continue giving help "to those who need it" but stressed that entry "criteria" were needed to ensure immigration was not "indiscriminate."

Brazil is one of the countries accepting a flow of Venezuelans fleeing economic collapse in their country. The UN says more than 2.3 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, and the figure is expected to surpass 5.3 million this year.

The Global Pact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was negotiated over two years under UN supervision and sealed on December 10 last year at an international conference in Morocco. It aims to treat international migration in a coordinated, comprehensive way, although it is not binding.

On December 19, the UN General Assembly adopted the pact, with 152 countries voting in favor, including Brazil's previous center-right government. The nations voting against were the United States, Israel, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.

Rights groups lamented Brazil joining those that rejected the accord.

"The Bolsonaro government has adopted an outdated and mistaken discourse by considering migrants to be a threat to national sovereignty," said Camila Asano, with the non-governmental association Homme Conectas.

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