Persbericht, 21 mei 2022

Human Rights Defense Curaçao denied access to immigration barracks once again

There are major concerns about Curaçao, where Human Rights Defense Curaçao (HRDC) has again been denied access to Venezuelan refugees and migrants. This weekend, under abuse of circumstances, six people will be put on a plane to Panama as 'tourists'. The Dutch Council for Refugees (DCR) and HRDC are shocked at the situation and have demanded direct access to the immigration barracks and prison to provide legal assistance to the refugees detained there.
Foto: Berber van Beek

For years, the Curaçao authorities have been violating the rights of Venezuelans seeking protection in Curaçao. This has been confirmed in recent research by Amnesty International. Refugees and migrants are immediately detained up in the immigration barracks upon arrival on the island. More and more of those refugees are being held in the regular prison because of renovations. This is an extremely worrying situation, with vulnerable refugees being locked up with prison detainees. Because the regulations in Curaçao are highly complex, almost none of the refugees know what their rights are or how to apply for protection. This makes it more important than ever for them to have access to a lawyer.

No legal assistance

Human Rights Defense Curaçao has been trying for weeks to gain access to the barracks and prison to offer legal assistance. The Dutch Council for Refugees assists the local refugee organization in this as well as possible. Last year the local organization won a lawsuit to gain access to these buildings, but two weeks ago they were denied access once again. As a result, they cannot contact the refugees or migrants who are detained in the barracks and are at risk of deportation.

Give Human Rights Defense access to the barracks

The Dutch Council for Refugees is shocked at this gross human rights violation occurring weekly within our Kingdom. We call on the Minister of Justice in Curaçao, Shalten Hato, to give Human Rights Defense direct access to the barracks and prison to do their work in providing legal support to refugees and migrants. Especially now that six people are at risk of being deported to Panama this weekend. We also call on State Secretary Van Huffelen to visit the immigration barracks during her visit to Curaçao next week to assess the situation.

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