Dominican Rep. + 5 more

Caribbean Situation Report April 2022

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Situation

  • April saw an escalation of raids and detentions of Venezuelans by the Aruban authorities. According to one R4V partner, this created a fear among refugees and migrants of being out in public, detained or moving around the island, including for going to work and/or dropping children off at school. Partners also noted that as Venezuelans' incomes decreased, requests for food and shelter assistance increased.

  • Curaçaoan partners indicated that Venezuelans in an irregular situation could now purchase medical insurance through private insurance companies with eased administrative requirements, which the Human Rights Defense Curacao Foundation (HRDC) in the country had been lobbying for, due to challenges related to practical and administrative barriers. However, the list of participating insurance firms and the cost of policies are yet to be released. Meanwhile, partners noted that 2,500 refugees and migrants had registered through the Ministry of Justice in Curacao for the “Responsible Integration" program by the end of April, where persons who had entered the country regularly before 13 March 2020 could apply for a one-year temporary residency permit. Separately, six Venezuelan men were detained upon trying to enter the country irregularly. Despite initiating a hunger strike, demanding to be allowed to await a hearing on their claims for protection under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, they were deported to Venezuela via commercial flights transiting through Panama, according to HRDC.

  • R4V partners in the Dominican Republic supported 29 microbusinesses run by Venezuelan refugees and migrants within the framework of the Inclusive Cities project, in conjunction with the authorities of San Cristóbal, including through evaluations and workshops to assist these enterprises, in-kind donations, and assistance with legal procedures. R4V partners also concluded a mapping of cultural actors in Santo Domingo to identify and support actors, as part of a social cohesion initiative where refugees and migrants and host community members could collaborate through cultural activities.

  • COVID-19 restrictions were removed in Guyana including the discontinued use of masks in public spaces. One partner, accompanied by the Region 9 authorities, conducted a mission to identify suitable spaces for the relocation of members of two Venezuelan indigenous communities, Enepas and Waraos, who were discovered in makeshift camps in Tabatinga in February 2022. Meanwhile, an R4V partner reported a 45% increase in the number of refugees and migrants requesting accommodation assistance in the month of April. At the same time, due to reduced funding, the partner had to decrease the assistance provided.

  • Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), who took part in last year’s re-registration exercise through the Ministry of National Security of T&T, received a work permit extension to the end of the year. Separately, one partner in T&T, in collaboration with CARICOM IMPACS hosted a meeting in Port of Spain on 26 and 27 April, on Legislative and Practical Pathways For Counter-Smuggling of Migrants in the Caribbean. Analysts at the meeting indicated that irregular movements along sub-regional some routes were at a record high. However, statistics from one R4V partner showed that fewer asylum-seekers had been registered in T&T from April 2021 where an average of 517 persons registered monthly, while current numbers ranged in the mid 200s. Also, an R4V partner submitted an oral statement for the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council urging the T&T authorities to maintain their commitment to develop and implement a national policy to promote respect for the rights of refugees and migrants. Separately, an attempt to deport a Venezuelan woman who was granted refugee status in Trinidad and Tobago was temporarily blocked by the High Court. Additionally, several partners met with the Tobago House of Assembly to discuss collaborating to implement projects with the refugee and migrant population. On another note, T&T and Venezuelan authorities continued to jointly search for a Venezuelan national and a fisherman from T&T who were reportedly kidnapped by pirates