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Caribbean Situation Report February 2022

Rep. Dominicana
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• The results of an R4V Study on the protection situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the Caribbean were published. In addition, on the COVID-19 front, restrictions were eased in all countries in the sub-region.

• In Aruba, deportations of Venezuelans in an irregular situation continued. Separately, a needs assessment on migration governance was issued by an R4V partner for the country. The document provides key information to support the Government in understanding the current migration governance systems while highlighting specific identified needs to support informed decision–making to strengthen migraton governance that will benefit both the State and migrants.

• The government of Curaꞔao is expected to confirm the launch of its migration needs assessment. Distinctly, two Curaꞔaoans were arrested in Venezuela for allegedly trafficking in persons to the Dutch islands.

• R4V partners disseminated information via social networks to identify refugee and migrant children and adolescents unable to access education in the Dominican Republic and to refer children to early childhood education and care services. R4V partners also continued to support the government-led Normalization Plan for Venezuelans, where the second and third phases were open. They assisted with establishing mobile information hubs in areas without existing outreach, and supplied ICT equipment to help with access to the normalization process. Approximately 14,000 of the 43,000 Venezuelans who registered, had received work and study visas by the end of February.

• In Guyana, vaccination campaigns remained open to all in the territory. There was a halt in vaccination rates due to hesitancy among the population. 40% of persons in the country, including refugees and migrants, were fully vaccinated by the end of the reporting period. Furthermore, R4V partners presented the results of consultations with indigenous groups carried out last year at a regional nutrition and food security meeting. Stakeholders including R4V partners questioned the status of Trinidad and Tobago's policy for refugees and migrants, flagging that without a plan, there will continue to be challenges in assisting this vulnerable population in the country.

• The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) with the support of R4V partners continued its ‘Ver Algo, Decir Algo’ (see something, say something) campaign, to encourage individuals to report crimes in Spanish. Local Media reported that more than 2,000 Venezuelans who came to Trinidad and Tobago seeking a beter life had returned due to the cost of living. Meanwhile, atempts to enter Trinidad & Tobago via iregular routes continued to be reported, as well as detentions and returns of Venezuelansin an irregular situation. An infant was shot and killed when the Coast Guard opened fire on a boat transporting refugees and migrants from Venezuela during an irregular entry atempt in February, prompting a joint statement on the issue. The incident provoked protests by Venezuelans in front of the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Caracas. Refering to this incident, the Prime Minister (PM) of Trinidad and Tobago said that the Coast Guard was protecting Trinidad and Tobago’s border in the fight against human trafficking when the child was fatally injured. In his speech, the PM made a reference to a gender and crime document published in Venezuela, indicating that trafficking in persons seemed to be on the decline in other countries apart from Trinidad and Tobago, where the demand for prostitution was high. Separately, R4V partners emphasized the need to help victims of trafficking to start a new life and spotlighted the issue through key advocacy messages and featured survivor stories during this reporting period.