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Gov't rejects asylum applications for 37 Haitians migrants

Malene Alleyne, founder of Freedom Imaginaries
By Nakinskie Robinson    
 
Founder of Human Rights Group Freedom Imaginaries, Attorney Malene Alleyne, has confirmed that the government has rejected the asylum applications of 37 Haitian refugees who arrived on the island last year.
 
The group arrived in Jamaica by boat in July and subsequently applied for asylum.
 
Ms. Alleyne said the Haitians were handed the rejection letters around 9 p.m. Tuesday. 
 
"We were on site with the Haitians when immigration officers came to hand deliver decision letters. It was two immigration officials from the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency and they came with an interpreter. As you know, the letters all in every single case, the applications were rejected. And so, right now, the Haitians can either decide to leave the decision as is or to appeal to the Minister of National Security pursuant to the Refugee policy," she explained. 
 
Ms. Alleyne, who is representing the group, said all measures under the Refugee policy will be exhausted as a response to the rejections. 
 
"So the first, of course, is to do the appeal before the Minister of National Security. And then the second step, according to the policy, is there's an opportunity to request a reconsideration by what they call a refugee review body. That's what we will be doing."
 
She took issue with how the decision of rejection was made, noting that the Haitians did not have an opportunity to be heard by the eligibility committee that was convened to consider their application neither was she, as their legal representative, able to participate and present submissions. 
 
She also issued another call for the international community to provide oversight in the process, especially in light of the violence gripping Haiti.


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