IDC participated in UNHCR-IOM Caribbean Regional Conference on the Protection of Vulnerable Persons in Mixed Migration Flows: Promoting Cooperation and Identification of Good Practices.

Both the northern and southern Caribbean migration corridors present immense challenges as States try to respond to complex mixed migration flows, both from within and to the region (primarily Cuban and Haitian in the north, and Colombian and Venezuelan in the south) as well as through the region as a transit to North America. Since the number of arrivals in the island States have been growing exponentially, States across the region are currently seeking to enhance their migration management capacity in a variety of ways.

One recent measure is the conclusion of bilateral/tripartite agreements allowing for US Coast Guard support for rescue and interdiction operations, which can be seen in The Bahamas; Turks and Caicos Islands.  Another measure is the creation of detention centers, such as in Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, and other smaller states who plan to do so in the near future.

Without individual screening and referral processes, and without legal frameworks that prohibit detention for the most vulnerable, refugees, asylum seekers, trafficking victims, unaccompanied children and other irregular migrants are often caught up in dire detention conditions for prolonged periods of time, increasing their vulnerability to ill treatment and refoulement, as well as having a negative impact on their health and well-being. This was a focus of the IDC’s presentation at the conference.

The links below give some background to the issues discussed at the conference:
Conference press release
UNHCR 2012 Statement on Concern for Loss of Life in the Caribbean
US Coast Guard’s Alien Migrant Interdiction Statistics page
Joint appeal by UNHCR and OHCHR to states not to return to Haiti without indvidual protection screening