Unresolved conflicts can lead to refugee, migrant crisis- Granger tells UN summit

Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2016, 14:00 by Denis Chabrol

President David Granger on Monday called for an end to conflict within and between states because they can result in mass movement of refugees and migrants.

“Conflicts between states, if left unattended or unresolved, can escalate into regional and even global crises, which can threaten the existence of larger numbers of persons in wider areas, even beyond their country’s borders,” he told a high-level United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants being held in New York..

The Guyanese leader has been leading a relentless push for the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy to be resolved at the level of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also called the World Court.

Due to widespread political and economic stability in Venezuela, several Venezuelans have been trickling across to Guyana illegally in search of food and work. Trinidad and Tobago has been also seeing larger numbers of Venezuelan boat people turning up on their shores.

Recently, Suriname decided to introduce visa requirements for Haitians travelling through that Dutch-speaking nation to French Guiana.

The Guyanese leader also raised concerns about the plight of a Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic.

“The earthquake left thousands of persons dead and consigned thousands of others to a life as refugees in their own country.  Haiti’s agony is being compounded today by the creation of new waves of refugees from the Dominican Republic,” the Guyanese leader said in a statement to the summit.

His observation about Haitian refugees from the Dominican Republic is against the background of the Dominican Republic refusing to grant citizenship the offspring of Haitians who have been living in that Spanish-speaking part of the island of Hispaniola.

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) has since virtually ostracized the Dominican Republic. The issue was expected to gain greater attention at the level of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The Dominican Republic’s reliance on a colonial law in relation to the granting of citizenship has not helped the Haitians who are still reeling from the effects of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands of persons, destroyed infrastructure and resulted in more dying from cholera and other diseases.

“Natural disaster has also, been a cause of the refugee and migrant problem. The global community must not ignore the impact which catastrophic natural disasters, including those caused by climate change, has had in triggering, which produces refugees and migrants,” said Granger.

Granger called for the root cause of conflicts to be addressed through conflict-resolution as a long-term response to the crisis of refugees and migrants. “The international community has a responsibility to prevent these conflicts and to usher in an era of security and of the preservation of peace between states,” he said.