The construction of a Brazilian ‘hospitality policy’ and the adoption of a new legal framework for stateless persons
in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship
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Brazilian hospitality’ refers to the continuous trend, in the last two decades, of a generous treatment by the Brazilian state towards asylum seekers. In regard to stateless persons, that ‘hospitality policy’ turned into law when in 2017 a new migratory act was approved. This created a statelessness determination procedure, unprecedented for a Latin American country, and a facilitated naturalisation process for stateless persons. This chapter tells the story of how Brazil addressed the risk of leaving thousands of stateless children abroad because of an inopportune constitutional amendment. Also, it shows how that recent legislative innovation has changed the game, turning the country into a reference in the continent regarding statelessness prevention and sheltering for stateless persons. The new legislation on statelessness in Brazil is part of a broader regional cooperation of Latin American countries on questions related to asylum, guided by the so-called ‘spirit of Cartagena’, referring to the milestone of the Cartagena Declaration of 1984. The Brazilian hospitality policy is discussed through the lens of the welcoming initiative inaugurated to receive Haitians fleeing from the 2010 earthquake, called ‘humanitarian visas’, as well as the activism carried out by Maha Mamo, a formerly stateless person who became internationally known for her struggle for citizenship recognition. Now a naturalised Brazilian citizen of Syrian origin, Mamo’s charisma turned her into a voice and human face for the millions of stateless persons in the world still in search of visibility and inclusion.


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