T&T under fire for deportation of 82 Venezuelans

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

The Trinidad and Tobago government has come under fire over the deportation of 82 Venezuelans — asylum seekers among them.

The United Nations (UN) and Amnesty International have raised deep concerns over the deportation of the Venezuelans from Trinidad and Tobago, saying they could not verify whether it was a “voluntary repatriation” process, as claimed by Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon.

The United Nations said the Trinidad and Tobago government has failed the deportees and disrespected their human rights as people seeking refugee status and asylum from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

In a release, the United Nations Resident Coordinator Richard Blewit said the body was concerned for the welfare of these people.

Amnesty International’s Americas Director Erik Guevara Rosas has written to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley criticizing the way in which the 82 Venezuelans were repatriated to their home country.

Rosas’ letter came one day after a non-governmental organization in Venezuela said it was going to lodge an official report on behalf of the 82 Venezuelans as international outcry over the act has intensified.

In the letter, Rosas requested information about the procedures followed by the Trinidad and Tobago government in carrying out the deportation.

Amnesty International said, “as part of the Convention relating to the Status of the Refugees (1951) Refugee Convention and its Protocol (1967), Trinidad and Tobago is obliged to fully protect the rights of those in need of international protection.”

National Security Minister Dillon remains adamant that the repatriation was done “voluntarily,” as none of the Venezuelans expressed fear of, or objection to, returning home.

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