Panel Discussion: Refugee Law - Rights or Wrongs in an Interconnected World

According to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, "we are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record...with an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18."

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, the crisis is close to home with the Venezuelan Refugee crisis exceeding 3 million in 2018. In T&T, new forced migration numbers exceed 150 daily according to reports of the Living Waters Community, who also report having over 300 refugee children in their care.

Being one of the most favoured countries in the Region for migrant movement and refugees seeking asylum, the humanitarian situation in Trinidad and Tobago necessitates a balanced act of national security while upholding the human rights of persons fleeing situations of massive crisis. The need for education on the refugee crisis is apparent from recent events in the news, specifically with respect to the scope and definition of refugee/migrants/displaced persons and the critical position that the country finds itself in right now.

The Faculty of Law, UWI St. Augustine, through its Ministry of Education, EDF funded project 'Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago's Human Rights Capacity through Innovative Legal Education Delivery' seeks to catalyse and facilitate capacity building for human rights across all sectors of society, including the rights of refugees/migrants/displaced persons, as well as to further highlight the role that Academic and the University of the West Indies can play in furthering policy and practice on issues of national importance.

Continuing with its track record of providing this critical service to the public, the Public Panel Discussion brought together some of the major actors within the current Refugee/Migration landscape to provide a comprehensive and balanced view of the current national landscape.

SPEAKERS INCLUDED:
Prof. Rose-Marie Belle Antoine (Dean, Faculty of Law)
Ms. Rochelle Nakhid (Living Waters Community)
Mr. Ruben Barbado (Protection Officer UNHCR)
Mr. Farid Scoon (Attorney-at-Law)
Mr. Devon Williams (Attorney-at-Law)
Mr. Wesley Gibbings (Journalist)
Ms. Elizabeth Solomon (Course Director, International Human Rights Clinic, UWI St. Augustine)