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05BRASILIA1396
BRAZIL DECLINES GUANTANAMO MIGRANTS
Tue May 24 00:00:00 +0200 2005
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brasilia
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 001396
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2015
TAGS: PREF SMIG BR US
SUBJECT: BRAZIL DECLINES GUANTANAMO MIGRANTS
REF: A. 04 STATE 305348
¶B. 04 STATE 139422
¶C. 04 BRASILIA 633
¶D. STATE 86436
Classified By: POLOFF BISOLA OJIKUTU FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D
¶1. (U) On May 20, PolOff delivered reftel and talking points
to Brazil's Ministry of External Relations (MRE)
International Organizations Division (DOI) and the Human
Rights Divisions (DDH). PolOff also delivered reftel talking
points to UNHCR representative in Brasilia Luis Varese.
PolOff's requests for a meeting with the Brazilian National
Committee for Refugees (CONARE) were refused because CONARE's
position has not changed since reftels A through D.
¶2. (C) Officials from DDH, DOI, and UNHCR confirmed that the
GOB's position regarding this issue has not changed since
2003 and will likely not change in the foreseeable future.
The GOB still contends that it cannot accept Guantanamo
migrants because it is illegal to designate someone not on
Brazilian soil a refugee. Despite multiple requests, PolOff
did not receive a response regarding the USG's offer to pay
for transportation for GOB resettlement officials to travel
to Guantanamo. (Comment: Based upon Brazilian legislation
and CONARE's strong stance against the USG's proposal, PolOff
does not believe that the GOB will accept this arrangement.
End Comment)
¶3. (C) DDH Office Director Marcia Ramos told PolOff that the
GOB's close relationship with the Cuban government would make
it impossible for the GOB to accept Cuban refugees. When
PolOff asked if the GOB would consider accepting Haitian
migrants only, Ramos said that due to Brazilian legislation,
the GOB could not accept any migrants from Guantanamo Bay.
¶4. (C) UNHCR representative Luis Varese was more forthcoming
in providing concrete answers to explain the GOB's position.
(Note: Varese is a CONARE member and has one vote on the
board. End note.) Varese told PolOff that refugee status in
Brazil is usually granted after the refugee has been
recognized by the host country (in this case, the U.S.).
According to Varese, the GOB and CONARE believe that the
migrants at Guantanamo Bay do not fit into this category
because the USG has not "formally recognized" them as
refugees. If they were formally recognized, CONARE believes,
the USG would allow them to resettle in the U.S. so
resettlement would not be an issue. Varese told PolOff that
the "formal recognition" issue caused the GOB to reject the
USG's proposal in 2003. He also told PolOff that CONARE's
position would "probably not change" in the future.
Comment
-------
¶5. (C) All attempts to discuss this issue with GOB and CONARE
officials were flatly refused or accepted begrudgingly. In
addition, this issue has been raised on numerous occasions
and at a variety of levels, including U/S Grossman, since
¶2003. Given Brazilian legislation and Varese's comments, it
does not appear that CONARE or the GOB will change their
position on this issue.
DANILOVICH