Dominican Rep. + 5 more

Caribbean Situation Report November 2021



• A High-Level Indigenous Forum organized by the R4V Regional Protection Sector took place virtually on 30 November and featured 16 displaced Venezuelan indigenous delegates from four countries including Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. The Forum presented key needs and concerns of these communities to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

• In Aruba, 72.77% of the population were fully vaccinated by the end of November and COVID-19 cases stabilized with minimal increases in viral infections. The Netherlands postponed the decision to distribute the final tranche of funding that had been pledged to Aruba for the last quarter of 2021, citing that the island had not met specified conditions, including implementation of stipulated changes to expenditures, and further considers the island to be "on the recovery track”. The Council of Ministers of the Dutch Kingdom will meet the 21 Jan 2022 to decide on financial aid to the island. It is anticipated that economic recovery could lead to job creation and improved conditions for individuals in Aruba, including for refugees and migrants. However, existing fiscal constraints can make it difficult for all individuals, especially refugees and migrants to access the benefits of this economic revival.

• While COVID-19 infections slowed in Curaꞔao, the authorities lightened travel restrictions for Dutch travellers due to concerns of increasing numbers of cases in the Netherlands. Curaçao’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, and the industry has only just started recovering since the pandemic began. Many refugees and migrants depend on the tourism industry for jobsto sustain themselves and their families. Meanwhile, vaccination efforts continued with 57.69% of the population being fully vaccinated.
Separately, UNHCR registration certificates issued to refugees and asylum-seekers were renewed.

• R4V partners in the Dominican Republic (DR) continue to support the regularization process of refugees and migrants from Venezuela which is now in its third phase of implementation. From the 43,000 Venezuelans who have registered so far, 30,416 received first-phase extensions of stay, 8,312 obtained work and student visas during the second phase, and approximately 1,000 persons summited documents for non-resident cards in the third phase.

• In Guyana, an emergency situation in an indigenous community in Region 1 where children showed signs of acute malnutrition was reported in the local media. The authorities immediately became involved and a task force to provide humanitarian assistance was set up, including UN agencies and R4V partners who have been providing aid and response measures. Support was given in the form of emergency food kits, emergency shelter and more. Additionally, national vaccination campaigns continued to be accessible to refugees and migrants.

• The Universal Periodic Review of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) was held on 9 November. The Atorney General noted that “there are economic migrants as opposed to asylum-seekers.” Several national delegates recommended that legislation and processes need to be developed for persons in need of international protection. Additionally, the Caribbean Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), a member of the Sub Working Group on Detention of the R4V Refugee and Migrant Working Group, facilitated a panel discussion on Immigration Detention, “A Dialogue on Due Process and Access to Justice” addressed to atorneys-at-law.

Meanwhile, the State of Emergency (SOE), implemented by the authorities in response to the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in May 2021, was officially revoked on 17 November. Public health regulations remained in place, including restrictions on public gatherings. T&T also recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic on November 17 and reported a third wave of infections. Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, met with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and highlighted the country’s commitment to strengthening border security and preventing the interception of illicit goods, drugs, and high-risk passengers.