GLO.ACT Project Coordinator visits Brazilian legal assistance center for the vulnerable

Brasília, 12 October 2017 - On a recent visit to Brazil, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, Ms. Margaret Akullo, met with senior officials of the Brazilian Federal Public Defender's Office to discuss collaboration with their project on assistance to vulnerable migrants along the Venezuela/Brazil border.  

Mr. Edson Marques, Federal Deputy-General Public Defender welcomed Ms. Akullo to the Federal Public Defender's Office noting that 'GLO.ACT will play an important role in supporting our mobile assistance programme called " DPU Itinerant" which aims to reach those in dangerous and remote areas who do not have access to legal assistance".  Also attending the meeting was Mr. Fernando Mauro Barbosa de Oliveira Junior, Director-General of the Superior School of the Public Defender's Office of the Union and other Public Defenders. The meeting focussed on the role of the Public Defenders Office and how it offers complete legal representation free of charge to those who cannot afford legal services. Officials from the Public Defenders Office stated that legal assistance is not limited to just representation by a lawyer but also the provision of funds for expert witnesses, court costs, and other miscellaneous fees related to litigation. 

During the meeting, Ms. Akullo presented an overview of GLO.ACT, noting that Brazil and Colombia were the only Latin American beneficiary countries in GLO.ACT but who could also play a crucial role in the region in addressing trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. During her visit, Ms. Akullo had the opportunity to visit the Legal Assistance Centre in Brasilia and was able to observe first hand Public Defenders at work supporting the vulnerable.  In concluding her visit, GLO.ACT will be holding a hold workshop jointly with the Federal Public Defender's Office in October 2017 addressing TIP and SOM and focussing on the rights of migrants using examples from the Venezuela/Brazil border.

At the meeting, it was noted that Venezuela's political, economic and social crisis has led to an increasing number of its nationals, including displaced indigenous population, crossing the Venezuela/Brazil border through to the state of Roraima in Northern Brazil. Hundreds, mainly made up of the indigenous Warao from the Orinoco Delta region, have crossed the border into Brazil, in search of better living conditions and requesting refugee status or humanitarian visas. According to the GLO.ACT National Project Officer in Brazil, Ms. Fernanda Fuentes, the Warao population has also been identified by local human rights institutions as particularly vulnerable due to the humanitarian crisis taking place at the Venezuela/Brazil border.

Supported by Mr. Rafael Franzini, Representative of UNODC office in Brazil, and Ms. Fuentes, Ms. Akullo also attended other high level meetings in Brasilia with the National Secretary of Justice and Citizenship, the EU Delegation, IOM and UNICEF respectively.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Fernanda Patricia Fuentes Munoz

National Project Officer

Liaison and Partnership Office (LPO) in Brazil

Twitter -  @glo_act

DPU External Link

We thank our UN Online Volunteer, Juliana Nogueira, for her contribution to the translation of this article. Juliana is an online volunteer mobilised through".

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