Brasilia, Brazil (AFP) -A total of 1,400 Syrians sought refuge in Brazil last year, making them part of the largest refugee group in the country as they flee a bloody conflict, official figures showed Monday.
The steady increase in Syrian arrivals over recent months means they now outnumber Angolans and Colombians in South America’s largest country, National Center for Refugees (CONARE) figures showed.
In all, Brazil welcomed 2,320 refugees last year, more than triple the number for 2013 and the highest annual figure registered to date, CONARE said.
The centre put the total of Syrians at 1,739, compared with 1,071 Angolans and 834 Colombians.
As the Syrian conflict has escalated, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights putting the death toll at 200,000 since 2011, and many more people displaced, Brazil has sped up entry processes for those seeking refuge.
CONARE estimates 7048 refugees are currently under Brazilian protection, mainly following human rights abuses or religious, political or racist persecution.