United Nations Wants Temporary Halt To Haitian Repatriations

Thursday 23rd, June 2011 / 09:57 Published by

Due to the terrible conditions still existing in Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, the United Nations is asking the Bahamas and other countries to temporarily suspend Haitian repatriations.

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Office of The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are asking that countries enact measures to allow Haitian refugees to legally remain in their respective countries.

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister, Brent Symonette, responded by saying that while considering the request, repatriations of illegal Haitians from the Bahamas will continue unless dire conditions in Haiti are highlighted.

Symonette noted that immediately after the earthquake, the Bahamas ceased repatriations and said, “we will continue to respect the conditions in Haiti so that we make sure that any repatriations are humane and within the Christian principles that we abide by.”

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards is urguing countries to consider the request on humanitarian grounds, until the conditions in Haiti improve.

Mr Edwards, speaking at a press briefing in Geneva, said:

“Despite the recent elections and ongoing reconstruction efforts, Haiti, weakened by the earthquake, can not yet ensure adequate protection or care, especially for some vulnerable groups in case of return, such as unaccompanied minors, disabled persons, people with health problems, victims of trafficking or sexual abuse.”

Mr Symonette said that there were no repatriations scheduled at this time and there has been no recent mass apprehension of illegal Haitians.

Currently there are only 12 Haitians at the Detention Centre, not enough for repatriation exercises.  Although there were already two repatriation exercises so far this month.

It is not clear what will happen to the 12 individuals currently being detained.

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