Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has said he will be requesting a full report on the deportation of 82 Venezuela nationals on Saturday. In a call late last night, the AG added that he will issue a media statement with further details Monday. On Saturday, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said he was assured by the division that all the deportees had willingly agreed to their deportation.
The government was yesterday criticized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, because it is alleged that several of the people deported had certificates stating they were asylum seekers, were in the process of receiving that certificate, or else signaled their intention to seek asylum. Newsday spoke to the wife of one of the men deported, who had received his asylum seeker certificate three days after he was held by officers of the Immigration Division and taken into custody.
Under the UNHCR Treaty of 1951, people seeking asylum should not be returned to the country they are fleeing until their claim of persecution, either for race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, political ideology or belonging to a particular social group has been proven. Trinidad and Tobago signed on to that treaty in 2000, but has not enacted any legislation for dealing with refugees. Instead, the local UNHCR office and non-profit organisation, the Living Water Community, process applications.