There’s no safe place for Venezuelan refugees
The deportation of Venezuelan refugees from Trinidad puts international agencies on alert.
At least 82 Venezuelan citizens were deported to their country last Saturday by the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to Barbados Today, the Ministry of National Security said in a statement that the immigrants "were voluntarily repatriated to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with the assistance of the Ambassador of Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Coromoto Godoy."
Both governments would have collaborated to take the necessary measures with respect to "the Venezuelan nationals who were housed in the Immigration Detention Center" in Aripo.
According to the statement of the Ministry of National Security of Trinidad, among the Venezuelans who were being "sent home" were "those who had breached the immigration laws of this country and those who served time in prison and awaited deportation on the completion of their sentences".
An estimated 2,000 Venezuelans have applied for asylum in the country during the last months, according to the report. "During 2015, there were 29 male Venezuelan detainees, but one year later the figure had risen to 125 including 97 females. Last year, there were 45 men and 82 women (...) On a weekly basis, between 150 and 200 Venezuelans arrive in the country by sea, some of them illegally."
For its part, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced its "deep regrets" for the deportation of Venezuelan citizens, who included "registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status, making their return to Venezuela a breach of international refugee law."
"The forced return of this group is of great concern," said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. "We are in contact with the authorities and are seeking clarification in the legal process which has led to the deportations of this group, to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago continue to abide by its international obligations."
According to Reuters, the agency "has been working with governments in the Caribbean to help them cope with the influx of refugee," as a result of the deep economic and social crisis suffered by Venezuela, whose collapse has “driven an estimated 3 million people from the country.”