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Trinidad and Tobago deportations 'violate human rights'

VENEZUELA: Residents queue outside a supermarket (Image: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL have called on Trinidad and Tobago to guarantee and protect the rights of all asylum seekers and refugees following the deportation of 82 Venezuelans.

The human rights NGO have written an open letter to Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister Keith Christopher Rowley expressing their “deepest concern” for the deported Venezuelans.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said: “Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing an unprecedented human crisis in their country. They need a life jacket, not to be sent back to a country where they may face torture or other grave human rights violations.”

He added: “Now more than ever, states like Trinidad and Tobago must guarantee the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, including increasing numbers of people from Venezuela who are in dire need of international protection. To fail to do so is to ignore the country’s commitment to protecting human rights.”

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that the group included registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status.

Mass deportations are prohibited under international law, as is the violation of the principles of non-penalization, non-refoulement, and confidentiality, and the rights to due process and judicial protection.

The deportations of Venezuelans from Trinidad and Tobago are the result of an agreement made between the Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuelan authorities, according to media reports.

It is believed that 53 men and 29 women. And Amnesty International says that they have obtained evidence that suggests the deportations were not voluntary but that they “were presented with papers to sign, in a language they do not understand, stating that they would return voluntarily”.

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