The Brazilian government has heeded the pleas of the refugee population in Brazil and removed the word "refugee" from the national identification cards of these foreigners. The term was replaced with "resident" and the document will also inform that they are authorized to work for wages in the country, according to information released on the United Nations Brazil website.
The refugees who own the old IDs may request the updated version, according to the Brazilian Federal Police, for which they are required to pay R$ 305.03 (US$ 140.79), the same amount as charged for the first copy of the document.
The change is being implemented by the Federal Police Department in partnership with the National Committee for Refugees (Conare), linked to the Ministry of Justice.
The removal of the word "refugee" from the document has always been requested by foreigners living in Brazil. According to them, the word was inaccurately interpreted, making it difficult for them to join the labor market and integrate socially and economically in the country.
As a result, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr) submitted a request for the change to the federal government.
"This modification in refugees' IDs is an achievement that will benefit the entire refugee population, because the very word still leads to dubious interpretations, from both the legal and semantic perspectives. We can consider this a historical achievement, and we hope it will facilitate the socioeconomic integration of refugees in Brazil," said the Unhcr representative in the country, Andrés Ramirez.
There are approximately 4,400 foreigners living as refugees in Brazil. Refugee arrivals are increasing. Between 2010 and 2012, for instance, the number of refuge requests has tripled.
There were 566 requests placed in 2010, and 2,008 requests in 2012. So far this year, 3,500 requests have been placed, according to an estimate from the Ministry of Justice.