JIS News

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  • Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, has reiterated that the Government of Jamaica is committed to the rule of law in its relations with the international community.
  • Ambassador Vasciannie emphasised that Jamaica’s treatment of refugee issues exemplifies the country’s good faith efforts to meet its international treaty commitments, and to satisfy generally accepted norms and standards of international human rights.
  • In a wide-ranging review of refugee issues in Jamaica, Ambassador Vasciannie identified a range of factors to be considered in the treatment of asylum-seekers, and pointed out that Jamaica’s formal refugee policy document, implemented in 2009, seeks to address these factors in keeping with the United Nations Refugees Convention and Protocol.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, has reiterated that the Government of Jamaica is committed to the rule of law in its relations with the international community.

Ambassador Vasciannie emphasised that Jamaica’s treatment of refugee issues exemplifies the country’s good faith efforts to meet its international treaty commitments, and to satisfy generally accepted norms and standards of international human rights.
He was speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the United States Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th annual legislative conference under the theme ‘Protection from Persecution: The Flow of Asylum Seekers of African Descent’, at the Walter E. Washington convention center on Friday, September 26.

“Jamaica, as a small, developing country which seeks to promote human rights and the rule of law in practice, has sought to safeguard all the rights specified in the Refugees Convention for persons who come to our shores…for us, this is work in progress, but we must remain committed to protecting persons facing persecution,” Ambassador Vasciannie argued.

In a wide-ranging review of refugee issues in Jamaica, Ambassador Vasciannie identified a range of factors to be considered in the treatment of asylum-seekers, and pointed out that Jamaica’s formal refugee policy document, implemented in 2009, seeks to address these factors in keeping with the United Nations Refugees Convention and Protocol.

 

US Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke in her opening remarks pointed out that with the rise of conflict in Africa and Caribbean cultural transition, more than 2 million refugees have arrived in US over the past 20 years.  Refugees comprise about 10 per cent of the total annual immigration into the United States.  She said that many of those seeking asylum are of African and Caribbean descent.

The panel discussed the issues facing immigration and refugees, along with potential recommendations for improving the refugee system in the US.

The panelists included Chief of Asylum Division, United States Citizens and Immigration Service John Lafferty; Director of Refugee Protection Human Rights First, Eleanor Acer; Senior Advisor Government Relations at the United Nations, Jana Mason; Executive Director, Black Alliance of Just Immigration, Opal Pomeit; and Associate Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University, Dr. Yvonne Captain. The group made presentations on how the US Immigration system affects persons from Africa and the Caribbean.