14.1 Survivors and migrants: A dialogue between disaster and migration in light of the case of Haitians in Brazil

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Claudia ANJOS , Universidade de Brasilia - UnB, Brazil
Since ancient times, natural disasters have constrained people to move across borders in search of more favorable surroundings to carry on with their lives after experiencing the destruction caused by natural hazards. If it is clear that natural disasters have always affected Earth’s inhabitants, it is also undeniable that international mobility has increasingly become easier during the last decades of transportation’s progresses. While victims of different manners of forced displacement – such as individual persecution and armed conflicts - have benefited from efforts launched by the international community half a century ago with the establishment of a regime that obligates States to fulfill minimum standards of protection, on the other hand people compelled to leave their countries due to natural disasters so far remain at the margins of any international coordinated response system. The lack of a global regulatory framework dedicated to safeguard victims of natural disasters, especially those who engage in transnational movements, is reflected at the mixed pattern of policies adopted by States regarding the arrival of such foreigners at their territories. In Brazil, since January 2010 a steadily influx of at least three thousand Haitians fleeing an earthquake-torn home country and in search of an opportunity in a booming economy has posed challenges to local and national authorities; as formal responsibilities persisted uncertain, host communities in the Northern region of Brazil have provided assistance to the Haitians despite their own deprivations. Bearing the international regulatory gap in mind, this paper intends to discuss the impacts on the Brazilian society of the recent disaster-led Haitian immigration, including Brazil’s migration policies and immediate and long-term reception provisions. Reviewing formal and informal responses, this paper ultimately proposes a closer look at the relationship established between immigrated Haitians and the Brazilian society in the course of two years of migration flow.