In yesterday’s newscast we told you of complaints reaching the Office of the Ombudsman surrounding the Belize Police Department and the Belize Central Prison. In our recent interview with Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu we also learnt of some complaints made against the Immigration Department.
“Complaints against immigration would vary. From our records it indicates that some migrant persons who pass through our enter the country allege the officers would confiscate their passports and not want to return it; those are allegations. There were also complaints about that they have paid their fines and have served their times but because they don’t have money to be repatriated to their respective countries they have to stay until they are able to go. Now immigration has the authority to remove these people and so hence the reason most of these issues fall under immigration.”
Following meetings with the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sufiane Adjali and officials of the El Salvador’s embassy in Belize, Ombudsman recommended that the Government of Belize appoints defenders for prohibited immigrants to deal with priority cases particularly those involving indigent families and minors. He also recommended that protocols be cemented and training of trainers and frontline personnel be undertaken on dealing with potential asylum seekers at points of entry and the a separate detention facility for prohibited immigrants be constructed so as to keep them apart from the criminal population and to have the families including minors be kept together.