Rona, writes one of my lawyer friends: Your compassionate friends are overlooking some facts and the law, take a look at this short overview
Your information about the GNC and lack of due process was almost right.
Almost right because a number of facts were flawed.
Firstly, every foreigner that is found working on the island, acting without a valid work permit is violating the applicable law and public order. For such a person to be detained, a written order has to be issued. That order is subject to administrative appeal, if the court finds it flawed it will be suspended and the person released. Every person detained is brought in front of a supervising judge within 3 days. This judge has the sole task to independently and ex officio evaluate if the detention was executed in accordance with the law, the judge will also investigate if the person was harmed by the detaining authorities. This is the applicable due process.
Secondly, the asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are required by law and the treaty, to immediately declare upon arrival here that they are seeking asylum and to be prepared to evidence this. Pending the due process, such person can remain on the island.
What I have seen in court decisions is that foreigners are caught working by the authorities (strike 1) and are detained and are prepared for deportation (strike 2) and then they claim asylum. They are fully entitled to do so but can’t really seek asylum protection by the treaty because they failed to declare asylum upon entry.
During the asylum procedure they would have to present evidence that they qualify for asylum under the treaty. In that procedure they need to prove that there is a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in certain groups. According to numerous decisions by the court the fact that “things are bad” in Venezuela or other countries doesn’t mean that there is well-founded fear of prosecution or torture.
If the competent authority determines that the person in question does not qualify for asylum a rejection letter is given. That rejection is subject to appeal with the court. Then the court scrutinizes that decision, and could very well come to a different conclusion. If the court cites with the competent authority the rejection will stand, subject to any other legal recourse available.
So, anyone seeking asylum is entitled to due process. Having a so called UNHCR certificate doesn’t change the facts.
Considering all the above, there is proper and due process for those concerned.
Thirdly, the army of folks making false claims that they are lawyers and that they can guarantee legal status in Aruba and even work as long as they are paid. So, they take these people’s money file these phony and often chanceless claims and when their clients get deported and barred from re-entry the con man doesn’t have to worry about an unhappy customer……
End of note.
I thanked my reader profusely for putting the above together, then he responded: You provide me with good reads and in return i occasionally reciprocate with a contribution on the legal angles etc. The courts of Curacao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire by the way, are all sitting with these cases unfortunately due to misinformation. I think too many are being encouraged to seek asylum as a way out. And remember it is not a specific examining judge who asks those questions and has the person standing in front of him or her, the same examining judge does that evaluation in ALL criminal cases and all judges on the island rotate in that function according to a schedule.
My compassionate friends answer: According to international law in regards to seeking asylum there is NO limitation on when a solicitation of asylum is being submitted. Aruba is obliged to review the cases of all Venezuelans who seek asylum. Only after reviewing their claims and denying their claim as unsubstantiated can they be deported. The problem is that there are no functioning asylum procedures receiving asylum claims and reviewing them in Aruba….but the burden of proof for qualification as refugee under the treaty becomes higher because you have to justify why you didn’t report at entry and how come you suddenly became a refugee. Fake asylum seekers don’t have facts to back their request up and meanwhile won’t be deported. All else is still the same. I also think some want to use asylum as a shortcut to the applicable laws.