Stand up for Jamaica, through its Executive Director, Carla Gullotta, finds unacceptable that the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) decision to send back the 35 Haitian nationals, who landed in Portland by boat on Sunday, October 15, 2023, from Haiti.
This is the third group of Haitians to have landed in Portland since the start of the year, and all of them have been returned within 24 hours by the Jamaican Government.
The Government’s forced return of the Haitians back to Haiti, where they face a real risk of persecution, torture or other serious or irreparable harm, amounts to refoulement, which is explicitly prohibited under international refugee and human rights treaties, including the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which have been ratified by Jamaica.
The Government’s denial to the Haitians of the right to due process, the right to legal representation, the right to be heard, the rights of the child to special protection, and the right to access basic information on the asylum procedure, is inconsistent with human and constitutional rights principles and standards and is a brazen affront to the principle of non‐refoulement, which requires the Government to grant individuals seeking international protection access to efficient asylum procedures.
Carla Gullotta believes the Government must use the opportunity of the arrival of Haitians Refugee as a show of support and sincerity and not just promises to send security personnel to Haiti. “Jamaica and CARICOM have had a strong voice on the unfortunate situation happening in Haiti currently; therefore, it is disheartening and counterproductive to return Haitians to harsh conditions, instead of welcoming and supporting them,” she said.
Stand up for Jamaica wishes to emphasize that the Haitians, including children, are not criminals. They are refugees, which is a different case. “They did not commit any offence, apart from escaping fear, terror, hunger, gang war, and instability. Some of them are children and it is hard to believe that they are in conflict with the law,” Gullotta highlighted.
Stand up for Jamaica, Jamaicans for Justice, Freedom Imaginaries, and Global Charity For All, reiterate our request for a meeting to discuss international law standards for the protection of Haitian migrants to ensure that this situation is not repeated in the future, and most importantly prevent the risk of a report to be sent to the United Nation Security Council for action to be taken against Jamaica.