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Urgent Appeal: Jamaica Council of Churches Calls for Compassion Towards Haitian Asylum Seekers
The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has issued an urgent appeal to the Government to reconsider the deportation of 37 Haitians who arrived in the country on July 10.
Instead, the JCC urges the Andrew Holness-led administration to seriously consider their application for asylum. The JCC President, the Most Rev. Kenneth D. Richards, emphasizes the need for compassion and understanding during this critical time for Haiti.
Addressing the Humanitarian Crisis:
In light of the worsening situation in Haiti, the JCC appeals to the Government to exercise compassion and empathy for the Haitian asylum seekers. The recent escalation of violence and economic hardship following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021 has forced many Haitians to flee their homeland in search of safety and a better life.
Upholding International Treaties and Human Rights:
The JCC highlights that Jamaica is a signatory to international treaties concerning refugees and asylum seekers.
As such, the Government is urged to offer the migrants the full extent of protection and hospitality that our nation is known for.
Referencing scripture, the JCC draws parallels with Jesus Christ’s experience as a refugee, emphasizing the moral obligation to welcome and care for those seeking refuge.
The Importance of Long-term Planning:
The JCC President emphasizes the need for a carefully planned approach in dealing with the arrival of asylum seekers. Consideration must be given to Jamaica’s resources and capacity to accommodate immigrants of this nature.
A well-structured and intentional program of humanitarian assistance can ensure the sustainability of support provided to those in need.
Advocacy and Reconciliation:
While Jamaica plays an active role in seeking political solutions for Haiti, the treatment of Haitian migrants who arrive in the country requires a more compassionate approach.
By demonstrating care and support towards those fleeing from hardship, Jamaica can continue to be a credible advocate for human rights, especially for those within our region facing forced migration.
The JCC urges the Government to reconsider its decision to deport Haitian asylum seekers, considering the dire circumstances in Haiti.
By displaying compassion and understanding, Jamaica can uphold its reputation as a hospitable nation while supporting those in need.
The Church stands ready to contribute to the implementation of a structured humanitarian assistance program to alleviate the burden faced by asylum seekers and safeguard their human rights.