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Human Rights Group Blasts PICA For Blocking Communication With Haitian Asylum Seekers | RJR News - Jamaican News Online
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Human rights group blasts PICA for blocking communication with Haitian asylum seekers

Malene Alleyne, human rights attorney and founder of Freedom Imaginaries
By Nakinskie Robinson    
 
Human rights attorney and founder of Freedom Imaginaries, Malene Alleyne, has blasted the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) for compromising the process for Haitians seeking refugee status in Jamaica.
 
She argues that being barred from communicating with the asylum seekers affects the lobby group's ability to protect their rights.
 
Ms. Alleyne says on several occasions she was barred by police and soldiers from providing legal advice to detained Haitians. This barring, she says, was based on instructions from PICA. 
 
"Every time I would try to interact with Haitian arrivals...the constant message I was getting from police officers is that people have instructed that the Haitians are not to communicate with attorneys. This was communicated to me over and over again. The idea that there could be a category of people hidden away in, you know, detention centres in deplorable conditions, I don't know how to articulate the severity of that," she lamented.   
 
The human rights attorney added that the National Security Ministry has taken a discriminatory approach to the matter, citing recent comments made by Minister Dr. Horace Chang. 
 
"The Minister of National Security on different news programmes...explained what the policy is. And that policy states that because of the 'problems' with Haiti, Haitian asylum seekers, migrants, who enter through irregular channels are not eligible for refugee status and there is no question about them speaking with an attorney because they're just subject to immediate removal."
 
Ms. Alleyne said based on what the minister suggested and what is contained in the Aliens Act, she assumes that Haitians have been deemed to be "undesirable immigrants".
 


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