The Cameroon nationals who were rescued at sea on March 28th, 2023 off the coast of St Kitts and Nevis have embarked upon a hunger strike.
They stopped eating on June 9th in the hopes that their demands on the Terrance Drew government there will be met
The Cameroonians who left Antigua and Barbuda on an illegal journey that killed over a dozen people after their boat capsized said they will continue their strike if they are not issued a United Nations identification card.
They also wish to speak with the United States (US) Embassy or the US Congress and they wish to be sent to their Cameroonian friends and family in Texas, US, as they claim they are specially protected under US law.
But the government explained to the Cameroon nationals that these demands “fall outside of the remit and authority of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, save and except the granting of access to communicate with the US Embassy”
Instead, they have been provided with the requisite email addresses, telephone numbers, and the physical address of the United States Embassy in Barbados.
On Saturday, all 14 Cameroonians were granted “Asylum Seeker Status”
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) defines an asylum seeker as “someone whose request for sanctuary is yet to be processed.”
According to reports from St Kitts and Nevis, “in addition to being protected against forced repatriation to their home country, the Cameroon nationals are entitled to continue humanitarian care while their asylum requests to UNHCR are being processed”
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis said that they will continue to collaborate closely with UNHCR and provide the Cameroon nationals with the necessary basic humanitarian services.
On Saturday, official Asylum Seeker Certificates were hand-delivered to the Cameroon nationals who were being housed in St Kitts for several months.
They were told when their document was handed over to them that the St Kitts government would continue to extend humanitarian provisions to them
“One such consideration is the Government’s decision to release them from detention and relocate them to an apartment complex with a view to increasing their comfort and autonomy. This arrangement will remain in place for ninety (90) days while their asylum applications are in progress,’ according to a statement from the Kittitian government
Meanwhile, the St Kitts government said in short order, they will be reviewing our nation’s asylum legislation and procedures “as we cannot and will not tolerate illegal migration going forward”
“As a sovereign nation, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is adamant that the country will not become a safe haven for human traffickers and persons who use illegal means to enter our borders”, the St Kitts government said in a statement Sunday.