Refugee seekers in T&T could soon find themselves deported if they run afoul of local immigration laws.
High Court Judge Frank Seepersad has declared that the obligations under the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the principles of non-refoulment do not apply to T&T as they are not incorporated in domestic law.
This means that all migrants are subject to the provisions of the Immigration Act and migrants, asylum and refugee seekers can be deported even if they have registered with the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The declarations were made by Justice Seepersad on Tuesday, as he settled the long-standing issue over the applicability of local immigration laws on refugees.
The ruling followed a claim by Venezuelan national Yohan Jesus Rangel Dominguez, who challenged a deportation order issued in March by the Ministry of National Security.
In a statement on Tuesday, the UNHCR said its Refugee Agency was reviewing Seepersad’s ruling and “will provide comment in due course.”