Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Jamaica

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Jamaica , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Sixteen persons applied for asylum in Jamaica during the year: 13 Cubans and 3 Myanmarese. The Cuban cases were summarily denied and the applicants immediately deported without right of appeal. Jamaica also returned an Iraqi family of eight to Cuba beginning a process of chain-deportation through which they were eventually returned to Iraq. Eight Haitian asylum applicants, on the other hand, who had been denied in 2002, were allowed to appeal and prevailed. The cases of the 3 Myanmarese were pending at year's end. Several families were internally displaced by violent demonstrations in Kingston.

Jamaica succeeded to the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol from the United Kingdom but has not adopted implementing legislation or consistent procedures but determines claims on an ad hoc basis. The 1996 Memorandum of Understanding between Jamaica and Cuba implicitly prevents Cubans from seeking refuge in Jamaica and, although some had managed to gain refugee status since, the denial of appeal in the above cases may represent an application of the agreement with renewed vigor.

Jamaica maintains the United Kingdom's reservation article 17(2) of the Convention, which omits the right of refugees to national treatment in wage employment where they have children of local nationality and only commits to such right after four years of residence rather than three. In practice, however, Jamaica allows recognized refugees to work if they obtain a permit. They also have rights to education, medical care, travel and legal residence.

There were 423 newly uprooted Jamaicans in 2003: including 269 asylum applicants in Canada, 139 in the United States, and an estimated 15 internally displaced persons. Sixty were granted asylum in Canada where 316 cases were pending at year's end. Five were granted in the United States and 79 were pending.

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