PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago said it is concerned after authorities in Trinidad and Tobago announced they had facilitated the return to Venezuela of scores of Venezuelan nationals, including asylum seekers, who had been in detention.
“The United Nations is concerned for the welfare of these people and is in contact with the appropriate authorities in Port of Spain to ensure that any person in need of protection will get it without fail,” said the United Nations resident coordinator, Richard Blewitt.
Blewitt’s comments came after the ministry of national security announced that 82 Venezuelan citizens who had been held in detention in Trinidad and Tobago, had been turned over to the Venezuelan embassy for repatriation to Venezuela.
The group, comprising 53 men and 29 women, included several individuals who had been registered as asylum seekers in Trinidad and Tobago as well as others who had initiated asylum requests or had signaled an intention to do so.
They were flown out of Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday aboard a Venezuelan government aircraft. The ministry statement said all returns were voluntary although this could not be verified independently by United Nations observers.
Venezuelans have been leaving their country in growing numbers, many in need of international protection and seeking temporary refuge in countries of the Americas region, including in some Caribbean small island states like Trinidad and Tobago.
The United Nations and its local partners have encouraged the prompt adoption of national legislation on refugee issues, and work together to support the government of Trinidad and Tobago in its efforts to develop an efficient and secure asylum system.