MH | Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao is no paradise for fleeing Venezuelans

By Jacqueline Charles | Miami Herald

Venezuelan migrants wait outside of Living Water Community, an NGO that works with asylum seekers, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The island is thought to be home to more than 40,000 Venezuelans, many of them living as undocumented migrants | Jim Wyss

An international advocacy organization is calling on officials in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao to allow undocumented Venezuelan migrants to gain temporary legal status, and to establish an asylum process so migrants seeking international protections can apply regardless of how they entered the country.

In a newly released report on the situation of displaced Venezuelans, Refugees International said the plight of Venezuelan migrants living in Curaçao, located just 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela, is so precarious that it “could very well be the worst in the Americas.”

The report comes on the heels of similar observations by Human Rights Watch and other aid groups. They have noted that Venezuelan migrants without legal status in Curaçao live in daily fear that they will be subjected to widespread immigration raids and illegal deportations by police. Also the former Dutch colony lacks any viable system for people to apply for asylum, while the number of individuals seeking the protection has sharply increased.

“The government of Curaçao has been openly detaining and deporting people back to Venezuela, and without options to regularize their status, many Venezuelans are forced to live in hiding, in fear of the authorities, and at the mercy of employers who often exploit their irregular status,” said Izza Leghtas, one of the report’s authors.

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Bron: Miami Herald

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