THE Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) is concerned about the deportation of 16 Venezuelan children and nine women on Sunday.
The human rights body issued a statement on its Twitter account hours after a writ of habeas corpus was unsuccessful in the court on Monday.
The judge hearing the matter agreed the court no longer had the jurisdiction to make any orders, since the Venezuelans were no longer in TT territory.
In its statement on Twitter, the IAHCR recalled the resolutions of the human rights treaty and urged the Trinidad and Tobago government to guarantee the group’s entry.
It said: “The IACHR expresses concern about the deportation, of Venezuelan migrants including 16 children and adolescents, some of them unaccompanied. According to public information, these people are found at sea and their whereabouts are unknown.
“In this regard, the IACHR reiterates its resolutions 2/18, 4/19, and 1/20 and urges Trinidad and Tobago to guarantee entry into the territory of Venezuelan people seeking international protection for urgent humanitarian reasons, as well as respecting the principle of no return.
“Likewise, the IACHR urges Trinidad (and) Tobago to strictly observe the duty of special protection of children and adolescent migrants and to consider their best interests in all decisions that affect them,” the tweet said.
On Sunday night, Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams ordered the Defence Force to produce the group of 16 children and nine women on Monday, as requested in the writ of habeas corpus filed on their behalf.
But in court, the judge was told the group was not in the custody of the Defence Force, as they had been taken to the sea border between TT and Venezuela just before midday on Sunday.
Quinlan-Williams was told she could make no order for their return, since they were out of TT’s jurisdiction, and were said to be in Venezuelan waters.
Early on Tuesday, relatives of some of the women and children were trying to rescue them, as they were told the boat carrying the group was stranded at sea.
It was suggested the boat was in TT waters, and attorneys for the Venezuelans are trying again to approach the court seeking its protection.
Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed has again pleaded with the local authorities to show compassion for the children, one of whom is said to be very ill. She also called for proper policies on refugees.