Security Ministry preparing to process asylum applications for 37 Haitians who entered Jamaica illegally this month

The Ministry of National Security says it is preparing to process asylum applications for 37 Haitians who entered the island illegally on July 10.

29 of them were convicted of illegal entry when they appeared in the Portland Parish Court on Tuesday, July 18, and are facing deportation.

A human rights attorney, citing civil unrest in Haiti and International Treaties, filed an asylum request on behalf of the Haitians on Friday (July 21).

In a release today (July 26), the Ministry said it is aware that steps are being taken to assist the group with the completion of the required asylum application forms as a prerequisite to convening the Eligibility Committee after formal receipt of those applications.

It said it is expected that this process will be concluded over the next few days, as each applicant has to be interviewed separately, aided by an interpreter to ensure full understanding of the process.

The Ministry said once the applications are received the Committee will be convened to undertake the review.

It noted that as articulated in the 2009 Refugee Policy, the composition of the Committee shall include three persons who shall be senior officers in the Ministries responsible for Immigration, Foreign Affairs and Justice.

The Ministry said it will also request support from the Attorney General’s Chambers in reviewing the applications.

Where interviews are deemed necessary to assist with the Committee’s review, legal counsel may be present in an observer capacity.

According to the Ministry, upon completion of the review, a recommendation will be submitted to its Permanent Secretary who will consider the findings of the Committee and make a decision in keeping with the options articulated in the Refugee Policy.

It said that decision is to be communicated to the applicants in writing within ten working days of the decision.

The Government affirmed that it remains sensitive to the unstable conditions in Haiti and reaffirms its commitment to working to secure positive outcomes for all relevant parties.


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