The trinidad Guardian / There was movement yesterday towards a short-term resolution for the Cuban “dissident” group currently camping out at Chancery Lane, Port-of-Spain – at least for Christmas.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi says efforts are being made so the Cuban group won’t continue to be on the pavement outside the United Nations’ office for Christmas. He said some resolution is necessary since they risk breaching T&T laws by continuing to be on the pavement there.
The AG spoke after meeting with stakeholders on the group’s issue yesterday. Al-Rawi and Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Glenda Jennings-Smith, met with officials of the United Nations, Living Waters and police divisions.
The Cubans, who are seeking resettlement in the US and other countries as political refugees, have been demonstrating in front of the UN building on Chancery Lane almost all year. They erected tarpaulins and moved possessions onto the pavement recently and moved into the UN building’s yard on Monday. UN officials called in the police, claiming the group hadn’t abided by regulations and there’d been an invasion of private (UN) property that day. UN officials later said the Cubans left the yard Monday night, returning to the pavement. UN officials claimed some of the Cubans want to stay in T&T.
Following yesterday’s meeting with the stakeholders, Al-Rawi said,”We confirmed the group – 18 – including children – are subject of refugee status applications to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“Living Waters offered and presented accommodations for the most vulnerable, including payment of accommodation. UNHCR is in the process of considering applications through fact-finding.”
He said that aspect has to be considered against the need to uphold T&T’s laws and for the group’s compliance with that.
Al-Rawi said their applications can’t be expedited because of their protests.
“The last UNHCR report had 600 people seeking refugee status in T&T and UNHCR isn’t a travel agency which can send people to a country,” the AG said.
“However, the group doesn’t want to stay in T&T. Also, while T&T is signatory to United Nations conventions on refugees, we haven’t ratified the convention and have no law to make it happen.”
He added, “We have a serious balancing issue as we’re striving to ensure citizens receive fair share of state support and resources while meeting compassionate objectives for all people in the country. We’re in a significantly difficult economic environment and allocation of state resources to citizens is Government’s primary objective, while mindful of the comity of nations and need for humanitarian considerations.
Therefore, (refugee) legislation will ultimately have to be a Cabinet decision.”
Talks on the issue continue today. Al-Rawi expressed gratitude to Living Waters for “constant advocacy, as a Government alone can’t do everything.”
Cubans may get Christmas shelter
Con Información de The trinidad Guardian
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