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Caribbean Updates: DR immigration officer accused of rape

Investigation launched by Dominican authorities following accusation of rape against immigration officer involving 14-year-old
Investigation launched by Dominican authorities following accusation of rape against immigration officer involving 14-year-old (Globe echo.)

Just Caribbean Updates

A rape accusation by a Haitian girl has ignited a furor in the Dominican Republic — it is second time in less than a year a Haitian migrant is accusing a Dominican immigration agent of sexual assault, reports the Miami Herald.

Dominican Republic authorities said they are investigating the case of an immigration officer accused of raping a 14-year-old girl. Santiago Molina, a human rights activist, said the incident happened when immigration officers were searching homes in an area where migrants mostly from Haiti have settled, reports the Associated Press.

President Luis Abinader said such actions are indefensible and will be prosecuted, but emphasized the critical need for the Dominican Republic to maintain control over migration in what he termed unprecedented exceptional circumstances, in reference to instability in Haiti. Abinader said deportations to Haiti have increased significantly, “leading to regrettable incidents that we must strive to prevent.” (Dominican Today)

Amnesty International, among other organizations, has issued an urgent call to President Luis Abinader and other relevant Dominican authorities, urging them to prioritize human rights. This comes in response to racist practices and policies targeting Haitian migrants, Dominicans of Haitian descent, and activists. They demand the immediate cessation of these actions to ensure fair and respectful treatment for all individuals.

Climate and Environmental Justice 

  • Sargassum seaweed has devastating and varied impact in parts of the Caribbean from toxic gas to water shortages and economic losses. “So far, the Caribbean has failed to coordinate even a region-wide strategy and the international community has largely turned a blind eye. National-level responses, which in most Caribbean countries include a draft management strategy that has not been officially adopted or adequately funded, have done little to take up the slack,” reports The Guardian.

  • “After being confirmed as the interim host of the new Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 in November, the World Bank has yet to confirm it will be able to be meet the extensive list of conditions put forward by developing countries during negotiations.” (Bretton Woods Project)

  • Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s approach to governance, especially regarding the land and rights of Barbudans, has come under fire from critics who say he is not genuinely addressing the needs and rights of his citizens but rather is more concerned with “green capital” and “climate financing” to benefit the elite, according to Crash! Collective. (Medium)

  • Small Islands Big Picture delves into the intricate planning for the May SIDS4 conference in Antigua-Barbuda, the progress since the SAMOA Pathway, and the UN’s role in the conference aimed at achieving ‘Resilient Prosperity’ for small island states. Listen.

  • The Climate Justice Camp Caribbean, hosted in Sint Maarten, brought together 120 climate leaders to collaborate and reinforce their commitment to climate justice in the region, writes Dizzanne Billy in Global Voices. The event emphasized the interconnectedness of climate and gender justice, the role of the community in driving systemic change, and the importance of regional collaboration to address the climate crisis’s impacts on the Caribbean.

  • Guyana is harnessing its rich rainforests to expand eco-tourism, offering a sustainable economic path alongside its oil industry, reports Cari-Bois News. (Global Voices)

  • The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has criticized Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for insufficiently implementing environmental regulations in the extractive industry. The UNHRC raised concerns about the lack of transparency, inadequate community involvement in decision-making, and the negative impact of illegal mining and pollution on health and the environment. (Kaietur News)

Human Rights

  • Attorneys John Clarke and Leonard Greed discuss reparations for the Coral Garden massacre in Let’s Talk about Justice Listen.

  • In an open letter, The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network is advocating for the “Right to Health” to be a constitutional right in Jamaica. This push follows World Health Day, urging a broader conversation on health rights and access to quality care. The current Jamaican constitution doesn’t guarantee health rights, despite progress in healthcare access. 

  • The Darién Gap, once a treacherous path for migrants, has become a harrowing journey marked by a surge in sexual assaults, according to a New York Times report. Victims, including women and even an 8-year-old girl, endure brutal attacks orchestrated by armed assailants, leaving them traumatized and vulnerable. Aid groups and migrants accuse Panama’s border police of negligence, amplifying calls for action amid the escalating humanitarian crisis.

Democratic Governance 

  • International lawyer Melinda Janki argued that the government of Guyana must prioritize the interests of its citizens over those of foreign companies. She asserted that the government’s power is not absolute and should operate within the confines of law, respecting the judicial process and upholding citizens’ rights. (Kaiteur News)

  • In “Empodérate Cubano,” lawyer Alain Espinosa from Cubalex and journalist Iliana Hernández discuss state repression in Cuba, particularly after the July 2021 protests. Espinosa says the Cuban government has refined its methods of repression, using selective detentions, forced disappearances, and intensive surveillance, especially targeting activists and independent journalists. (CubaE)

     
  • Despite Guyana’s newfound oil wealth, communities like Smith Creek, home to 300 people, have yet to benefit. The traditional way of life continues, relying on fishing, farming, and remittances from gold mining. However, signs of change emerge, such as a local pepper-growing project providing economic independence for indigenous Warrau women. (BBC)

Reparations and Decolonization

  • The Musgrave Medal, introduced during Queen Victoria’s reign and associated with Governor Anthony Musgrave, symbolizes contributions to literature, science, and arts in Jamaica. There is an ongoing discussion surrounding the acceptance of the Musgrave Medal by an advocate of decolonization in the country as it reflects on the historical significance of the medal, its association with colonial legacies, and the individual’s reconciliation of accepting a symbol tied to colonial history. (Jamaica Women Tounge)

  • The Church of England has established the Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice to address the harms of transatlantic enslavement. With initial funding of £100 million and aims to reach £1 billion, the fund will invest in education, health, and equality initiatives in the UK, the Caribbean, and West Africa. This groundbreaking initiative invites donations from individuals, institutions, and the Church itself. (Heirs of Slavery)

  • The Repair Campaign, in collaboration with Denis O’Brien, conducted a survey on British attitudes towards transatlantic enslavement and its aftermath. Results showed that 60% of Britons support an apology for slavery, with four in ten agreeing that Caribbean nations should receive financial compensation for its legacies. (Heirs of Slavery)

Migration

  • A Trinidad and Tobago judge awarded $2.4 million to a Venezuelan child detained unlawfully in Trinidad and Tobago for 456 days, criticizing the egregious conduct of state officials. The judge condemned the state’s failure to provide humane conditions and its disregard for legal protocols, emphasizing the child’s rights violations. (Guardian)

  • CARICOM leaders have not finalized the arrangements for the full and free movement of CARICOM nationals, missing the hoped-for end-of-March deadline. Discussions are ongoing with several meetings planned before the next meeting in Grenada. Key issues remain to be resolved to facilitate the removal of the six-month restriction on movement, aiming to ensure minimum rights for citizens across member states. (Gleaner)

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines have denied landing rights to chartered flights from Nigeria, Dubai, and Morocco due to security concerns, including potential human trafficking and illegal immigration to the United States. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ government also imposed visa restrictions on Bulgaria, Cameroon, Nepal, and Bangladesh. (IWN)

  • An IOM report on Venezuelan migration to Aruba reveals a strong interest among migrants in learning Papiamento and notes their significant economic impact. Particularly, they contribute to the real estate, hotel, tourism, and medical sectors. This highlights the integration efforts and economic involvement of Venezuelan migrants in Aruba.

Culture

  • Minia Biabiany, a Guadeloupean visual artist, won a grant from the Han Nefkens Foundation for a new moving image project centered on the environmental crisis. Biabiany, known for her work blending art and social commentary, plans to explore ecological themes intertwined with cultural narratives in her native Guadeloupe. (Repeating Islands)

  • Bryan McFarlane, born in New Nanny Town, Jamaica, is a visual artist whose work reflects a global African identity. His art explores his Maroon heritage and experiences from travels around the world, engaging with themes like freedom and cultural reflection. His latest exhibition, “Fragments of Time III,” showcases pieces influenced by various cultures including West African and Turkish. (Jamaica Women Tounge)

Opportunities 

  • The 5-Day Permaculture Course + Retreat in Jamaica, hosted at Artvark Centre in St. Ann from May 22-27 provides a comprehensive introduction to permaculture design. Key topics include Permaculture Principles, Ecosystems, and Soil Management. More information.

  • The Caribbean Culture Fund (CCF) has opened its inaugural call for proposals to support diverse artistic projects in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. This includes grants of $10,000 for social change initiatives and $25,000 for projects that foster regional cooperation. Proposals should uphold values of commitment, inclusion, sustainability, and transmission. The submission deadline is April 30, 2024. More information. 

  • Island City Lab is seeking a landscape architect, architect, or engineer with experience in the Caribbean to develop construction documents for a rain garden at the Abilities Foundation Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. Applications are open until April 26, 2024.

  • CESaRE Impacts is looking for writers passionate about environmental and energy issues within the Caribbean to contribute to their upcoming issue. Apply

  • The Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship is now open for applications for its third cycle from May to September 2024. This fellowship aims to empower Caribbean journalists to effectively report on climate justice issues, providing comprehensive training, monthly stipends, and engagement opportunities. Apply.

Events

  • April 17th, SlashRoots will host a panel discussion on “Jamaica’s Path to Universal Legal Identity in the Digital Age.” This event is part of their Digital Democracy Series, which explores topics related to inclusion, digital transformation, and human-centered design. Register

  • June 14th to 16th, the Caribbean Climate Network, and 350.org are inviting people to host events that go from murals to field trips in order to gain climate conscious about the region and help gather signatures to ask actual leaders to protect it. You can also sign the virtual petition initiated by the organization.

  • On December 8, 2024 —Join the first Jamaicans for Justice Run for Rights 5k. This event supports human rights in Jamaica and includes a premium race shirt, race bib, and a finisher medal. Registration costs $2,000 per person or $1,500 per person for teams of 20 or more. Pre-register.

Just Caribbean Updates/Jordana Timerman
https://caribbeannewsupdates.blogspot.com 04/09/2024

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