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The UN reminds states of their duties towards Haitian asylum seekers

  • March 22, 2024
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Haitians must benefit from refugee protection and not be forcibly returned to their country, where gangs reign in terror, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Faced with the chaotic situation which reigns particularly in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and the fears of a mass exodus, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) took the lead and refreshed the directives before ensure that the most vulnerable Haitians will be protected.

“The lives, safety and freedom of Haitians are threatened by a confluence of escalating gang violence and human rights violations,” Elizabeth Tan, head of UNHCR’s international protection division, said in a statement. .

Haiti has been the scene of an outbreak of gang violence in recent weeks, as Haitians await the establishment of a presidential transition council following the announcement of the resignation of disputed Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is now in charge of affairs common.

UNHCR reminds States that it is “imperative to ensure that Haitians receive the international refugee protection they may need.”

“We also reiterate our call to all States not to forcibly return people to Haiti, including those whose asylum requests have been rejected,” insists the UN agency.

She points out that a wide range of Haitians could benefit from the 1951 Refugee Convention: political activists, journalists, judges, lawyers, as well as others fighting corruption and crime.

In addition, the UN agency recalls that the Cartagena Declaration of 1984 extends protection to “individuals affected by circumstances which seriously disrupt public order in the country and by widespread violence in areas affected by gang activities” .

The UNHCR warned that it was observing a “worrying trend” of Haitians undertaking dangerous journeys, including going to sea in hazardous conditions.

Amy Pope, director of the UN International Organization for Migration, expressed similar concerns this week in an interview with AFP. “We are working with the governments of the Caribbean and the United States to monitor the movement of people and be prepared to respond if there is an increase in travel,” she said.


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Gazette Haiti