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The United Nations working closely with Trinidad and Tobago in addressing refugee challenges in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

UN - TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (22 Dec. 2017)

"Trinidad and Tobago's position as a leader in the Caribbean has been demonstrated through its commitment to creating a system of refugee protection" states United Nations Resident Coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, Richard Blewitt. The United Nations recognises Trinidad and Tobago's commitment in its creation of the Refugee Policy in 2014, which is the first step towards the development of a national asylum system.

The Refugee Policy sets out a three-phased process to develop a national asylum system which, in its implementation, would acknowledge and support the basic human rights of asylum-seekers and recognised refugees as indicated in the Refugee Convention (United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees).

Although the Government, with the support of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), is progressing in the implementation of the Policy, the access to basic services needed to support a life with dignity remains a challenge for many asylum-seekers in Trinidad and Tobago. The UN recognises the frustration at the limited range of solutions available to refugee and asylum-seekers that has been expressed in the demonstration outside the United Nations House during the past several months. Accordingly, legislation must also be introduced that would codify the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers, establish their legal status, and clarify the options available to them.

The implementation of the asylum-system and its supporting legislation will provide opportunities for refugees to integrate and contribute productively to the society in Trinidad and Tobago through the provision of legal documentation and access to work, education, and health services. Until the necessary legislation is passed, the UNHCR will continue to work with its partners and the Government to develop interim solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers here in Trinidad and Tobago.

"The Caribbean is not immune to the refugee crisis occurring in the rest of the world," says UNHCR Protection Officer, Ruben Barbado, "and we value the actions taken by States such as Trinidad and Tobago to honour the commitments of the Refugee Convention."  Such commitments  serve to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees so they can rebuild their lives and contribute to creating a stronger, more inclusive society for all. 

 

Press release issued by the United Nations in Trinidad and Tobago on 22 December 2017

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Historic participation of Caribbean countries at the UN General Assembly

Caribbean countries made one of their most memorable participations in history during the latest General Debate of the UN General Assembly last week.

Emotional pleas to mitigate climate change and to support the costly measures necessary to adapt to its effects, as well as to “build back better” after the devastating effects of extreme weather were expressed by the region’s delegates. On the top of everyone’s mind were the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria as the latter was still making its destructive way across the Caribbean.

Even on the wake of the catastrophic hurricanes, preparedness, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction were not the only issues raised by the region.  Delegates also made compelling statements about the importance of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, and highlighted many of the vulnerabilities shared by Small Island Developing States. These included social and economic challenges, that range from debt to single sector economic dependency, human trafficking, migration and others.

Click on the links below to watch videos on demand of the Caribbean participation, or to read summaries and transcripts of the statements at the General Assembly.

 

H.E. Mr. Gaston Alphonso Browne,
Prime Minister
Antigua and Barbuda


Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/ag_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/antigua-and-barbuda

 

H.E. Mr. Darren Allen Henfield,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Bahamas

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bs_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/bahamas

 

H.E. Ms. Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Barbados


Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript   https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bb_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/barbados

 

H.E. Mr. Wilfred Elrington, 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Belize

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bz_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/belize

 


H.E. Mr. Roosevelt Skerrit,
Prime Minister
Dominica

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/dm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/dominica

 


H.E. Mr. Elvin Nimrod,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Grenada

Video of speech  http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gd_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/grenada

 


H.E. Mr.  David Arthur Granger,
President
Guyana

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gy_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/guyana

 


H.E. Mrs. Kamina Johnson Smith,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Jamaica

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/jm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/jamaica

 

H.E. Mr. Mark Anthony Brantley,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Saint Kitts and Nevis

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/kn_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-kitts-and-nevis

 


H.E. Mr. Allen Michael Chastanet,
Prime Minister
Saint Lucia

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/lc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-lucia

 


H.E. Mr. Louis Straker,
Deputy Prime Minister
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/vc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-vincent-and-grenadines

 

H.E. Mrs. Yldiz Pollack-Beighle,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Suriname

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/sr_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/suriname

 

H.E. Mr. Dennis Moses,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Trinidad and Tobago

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/tt_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/trinidad-and-tobago

 

 

 

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UN-backed projects in the Caribbean highlight connection between life on land and life below water

26 May 2017 – The vital role of the world's oceans in human well-being and development is being highlighted next month as the United Nations hosts a global conference aimed at protecting these resources.

Conserving the marine environment is among the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to achieve a more just and equitable world for all people and the planet by a deadline of 2030.

SDG 14, Life Below Water, and the Ocean Conference, to be held from 5 to 9 June, has particular resonance for countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island nation in the Caribbean, according to Rissa Edoo with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the capital, Port of Spain.

“The ocean is vital to us because we are a small island developing State. Most of our resources are along our coast and most of our industry is also along our coast, so it is very important for us to understand the connection between life on land and life under water.”

Ms. Edoo is the National Coordinator for the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme, which has funded more than 100 projects since 1995.

Among the recipients is Nature Seekers, a non-profit organization that has become a model for marine conservation in the Caribbean over the past 27 years. The group is based in Matura, a fishing village on Trinidad’s north-east coast, where nesting leatherback turtles were being slaughtered for their meat.  Today, the 2,000 residents proudly protect the female sea turtles that come to the local beach every March through August to lay their eggs.

Leatherback turtles are the largest turtle species on Earth and can grow up to seven feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds.  Esther Vidale, Project Director at Nature Seekers, described them as a “keystone species” in the marine environment.

“The leatherback turtles’ primary food source is jellyfish and they really keep the jellyfish population in check by eating their weight or more in jellyfish per day. And jellyfish feed on small fishes or fish eggs. So by keeping the jellyfish population in check through the leatherback turtles, we have a thriving fishing industry so that fisherfolks who use this as their livelihood, persons who just want to enjoy seafood cuisine, and all the industries and persons that are impacted by the use of fish, can now benefit: both in the ocean, and us as man as well.”

Esther Vidale
Project Coordinator at Naure Seekers (Trinidad)

When Nature Seekers began in 1990, up to 30 per cent of leatherback turtles that made it to Matura Beach were being maimed or killed by poachers.

Esther Vidale, Project Manager at Nature Seekers, monitors a leatherback turtle that has just laid her eggs. Leatherbacks are critical to marine eco-systems as they help keep jellyfish populations under control, thus contributing to the availability of fish stocks. Photo: UN News/Lulu GaoSuzan Lakhan Baptiste, the group’s Managing Director and driving force, recalled that the beach once resembled a “graveyard.”

“I live in the community and when I went out onto the beach I saw all these huge turtles with just all the eggs in the stomach, with just a few pounds of shoulder meat missing. I remember seeing turtles with chops all over and no part thereof missing. And I said ‘I have to be a part of doing something and curbing this,’” she stated.

Since then, Nature Seekers has educated the village of Matura about the importance of conservation and showed how the turtles are a resource that can enhance livelihoods.

Residents have been trained as guides to patrol the beach to monitor the nesting leatherbacks which are tagged, measured and weighed, thus contributing to global research on the species.

Matura has become an eco-tourism destination as the group also works on issues such as forest management and sustainable livelihoods, emphasizing what Ms. Edoo called “the ridge-to-reef connection.” Visitors can also purchase beaded bracelets, necklaces and other trinkets made from glass bottles collected during beach clean-ups, marketed under the brand Turtle Warrior.

Today, the greatest threat to the leatherback turtles lies in the water as they can get entangled in fishing nets as bycatch, a term used to describe species caught inadvertently during commercial fishing.

Through UNDP, Nature Seekers is exploring alternative fishing methods such as using Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) which allow trapped turtles to escape from nets.

[ read the full story ]

 

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United Nations in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

Monday 16 January 2016 - The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT) welcomed the resurgence of the debate on child marriage in Trinidad and Tobago and reaffirmed its support for all efforts to end this practice. the UN in T&T  said that it was looking forward to "Trinidad and Tobago’s adoption of a bill that would protect girls from child marriage and promote gender equality, for such action could enhance the well-being of its citizens and advance achievement of its sustainable development vision".

Child marriage – defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a formal or informal marital union engaged in by a person under age 18 – violates human rights and threatens the health and prospects of, in particular, young girls. In this way, it slows progress towards gender equality, and towards ending poverty – in all circumstances and at all levels; and it undermines all dimensions of sustainable development.   

It has been shown that child marriage undermines the rights of freedom of expression, protection from all forms of abuse, and protection from harmful traditional practices identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  It deprives the girl child of an education, exposes her to violence and abuse, and can lead to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth that are life threatening for both mother and baby – contravening State obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 These violations against children’s human rights and opportunities for personal development, also slow achievement of globally established Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as they relate to ending poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, attaining quality education and realising gender equality. Failure to achieve such goals can also directly undermine national development aspirations.  

 

 

 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

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United Nations System in Trinidad & Tobago

Press Release


Monday 16 January 2016

 

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

 

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT) welcomes the resurgence of the debate on child marriage and reaffirms its support for all efforts to end this practice.

 

Child marriage – defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a formal or informal marital union engaged in by a person under age 18 – violates human rights and threatens the health and prospects of, in particular, young girls. In this way, it slows progress towards gender equality, and towards ending poverty – in all circumstances and at all levels; and it undermines all dimensions of sustainable development.   

 

It has been shown that child marriage undermines the rights of freedom of expression, protection from all forms of abuse, and protection from harmful traditional practices identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  It deprives the girl child of an education, exposes her to violence and abuse, and can lead to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth that are life threatening for both mother and baby – contravening State obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 

These violations against children’s human rights and opportunities for personal development, also slow achievement of globally established Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as they relate to ending poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, attaining quality education and realising gender equality. Failure to achieve such goals can also directly undermine national development aspirations.  

 

The UNTT therefore looks forward to Trinidad and Tobago’s adoption of a bill that would protect girls from child marriage and promote gender equality, for such action could enhance the well-being of its citizens and advance achievement of its sustainable development vision. 

 

Contacts

Narissa Seegulam, UN Coordination Analyst, Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 1-868-280-8632, 1-868-623-7056

 

Aurora Noguera-Ramkissoon, Liaison Officer, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago Branch Office:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 1-868-623-7056


 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

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