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Haiti - Social : UNHCR against deportations of Haitian and Cuban migrants
13/02/2013 08:19:26

Haiti - Social : UNHCR against deportations of Haitian and Cuban migrants
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged Caribbean countries like the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Bahamas [Turkey and Caicos etc...] not to deport the Haitian and Cuban refugees without proper screening of their situation.

The UN agency said it was concerned of the fact that those in need of international protection are intercepted in the Caribbean waters and deported. During the first two months of 2013, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of boats carrying people in the region and the UNHCR stated that governments should screen at all those intercepted at sea to determine if they have a fear of persecution or other protection issues before they are returned to their country of origin.

Since the beginning of the year, at least 217 Haitian and Cuban nationals were intercepted in Caribbean waters, declared the UNHCR in a press release. There have been reports of interception off the coast of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

"Elementary considerations of humanity and the fact that many countries in the region are granting asylum to Haitian and Cuban nationals when applying on land, demonstrates the absolute need for these basic procedural safeguards to be applied at sea," declared Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR's Regional Representative in Washington.

The UNHCR has repeatedly urged all countries involved in the interdiction and rescue operations at sea, t oimplement control procedures to ensure the protection of refugees and asylum seekers of all nationalities caught in mixed migration flows.

The agency is ready to provide support to States confronted by these maritime movements to ensure that all persons intercepted or rescued at sea are properly considered in accordance with international principles of human rights.

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