Caribbean Governments Called On To Protect Refugees Amid Risky Sea Crossings

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Amid a surge in risky sea crossings by people seeking a better life outside of their country, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has urged Caribbean countries to protect refugees.

UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told a news conference in Geneva Friday that the agency is increasingly concerned by the sharp increase in individuals, including a growing number of Haitians, resorting to dangerous journeys in the Caribbean Sea in overloaded and unseaworthy boats.

As a result, Mantoo said the UNHCR urges governments in the region to fulfill their maritime rescue obligations and ensure they identify all those in need of international protection.

The UNHCR official also urged regional governments to offer unobstructed and prompt access to fair asylum procedures.

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Mantoo noted that the worrying trend in perilous crossings became evident recently when a vessel carrying over 800 Haitians attempting to reach the United States arrived in Cuba after being abandoned by its captain and set adrift at sea.

“Search and rescue at sea is a legal and humanitarian imperative, and those rescued include refugees and others in need of protection,” she explained.

According to the UNHCR official, coordination, solidarity, and responsibility-sharing are crucial in responding effectively and ensuring that people in need of international protection are not returned to their country of origin, and the dangers they have fled.

She observed that while refugees and migrants of various nationalities have been making voyages by sea throughout the Caribbean region, an increasing number are of Haitian origin.

As of May, the U.S. Coast Guard reported it had interdicted almost 3,900 Haitian nationals in fiscal year 2022 – more than double the number in the previous year.

In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard has received reports of at least 175 missing or deceased Haitians

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Woe to those who leaves their country and seek help outside whithout my consent, for there is no country better than the other,
    “Say, the LORD !
    For the will die by nurfrage,famine, pestilence…
    And woe to those who have help them, for they will becomes a heavy burden for them.

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