June 22, 2011
UN Urges Governments to Cease Returning Haitians to Haiti

Yesterday the United Nations issued an appeal to governments to suspend all involuntary returns to Haiti, given the precarious conditions that continue to persist in the Caribbean nation 18 months after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

“Despite the recent elections and ongoing reconstruction efforts, Haiti, weakened by the earthquake, cannot yet ensure adequate protection or care especially for some vulnerable groups in case of return,” Adrian Edwards, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), http://www.unhcr.org/4e0071429.html told reporters in Geneva.

Given the current situation in Haiti, UNHCR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are urging governments to renew, on humanitarian grounds, residence permits and other mechanisms that have allowed Haitians to remain outside their country…

“The appeal calls on governments to assess Haitian cases on an individual basis and to pay special consideration and refrain from returning to Haiti persons with special protection needs, and to prevent situations where returns can lead to family separation,” said Mr. Edwards.

Thanks to Shaina Aber, Associate Advocacy Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA for forwarding this report.  Jesuit Refugee Service is a member of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, a coalition of about 30 human rights and faith-based organizations committed to justice and the effective use of aid in Haiti.  See http://www.jrsusa.org/