After spending over four years languishing in a refugee camp in the Jordanian desert, 100 Palestinian refugees from Iraq will finally be heading to their new home - Brazil. A statement by the UNHCR, said the group, which includes children and the elderly, will start moving from Rweished refugee camp, 60 km from the Jordanian-Iraqi border, to Brazil by September. The first party of 35 Palestinian refugees arrived today, 21 September, to Brazil initiating the first phase of the resettlement operation. In the coming month of October, two other parties will be arriving in Brazil, 117 persons in total. The refugees will be sent to their new country in three batches, with priority given to the elderly and families with children.
According to the plan, an estimated 22 families will be settled in the state of São Paulo, while 18 families will go to Rio Grande do Sul, in the southeast and southern regions of Brazil, said the statement. Unaccompanied elderly refugees will be settled in a home for the elderly where medical treatment is to be provided.
All will receive rented accommodation, furniture and material assistance for up to 24 months. Employment profiles are being analysed to ensure job opportunities for all, while a network of volunteers and local communities is being established to provide moral support during their integration. Children will attend classes in Portuguese, before being enrolled in Brazilian schools. The group is currently receiving training by a team of humanitarian professionals from Brazil on Brazilian culture and is being given Portuguese lessons.
Brazil's offer will provide a humanitarian solution for Palestinians who have been in the Jordanian camp since 2003. The UNHCR office in Brazil will also help the new arrivals better integrate into the Brazilian community by hiring bilingual (Arabic-Portuguese) staff who will be trained in Palestinian culture. With the departure of the Palestinian refugees, only a handful of Iraqi families will be left facing an uncertain future.