14ymedio, Madrid, 4 September 2020 — Police in Cayenne, the capital of French Guyana, seized the belongings of four Cuban migrants who slept outside in front of the Red Cross headquarters while they waited for a response to their asylum requests, according to reports from the local press.
Several French human rights organizations issued a statement denouncing the operation, which took place on Saturday morning, explaining that the agents took “passport photographs” of the Cubans in order “to make sure they are expelled.” In addition, they defend that “these people are not causing disturbances to the public order, unfortunately they are trying to survive, in more than deplorable conditions.”
The four evicted were part of a group of about 50 Cubans who began arriving in this French overseas department on 30 July, and who had requested asylum, according data from the Red Cross collected by Franceinfo.
Most of them were assigned to shelters, but several have been sleeping on the streets in destitute conditions due to lack of accommodation. Those who remained are those who were removed by the police on Saturday.
Among them are two women who arrived in Guyana via Suriname, and who told Franceinfo that in Cuba they are persecuted for their sexual orientation. Another anonymous source told the French media: “We are treated like criminals, really like criminals, frowned upon by the rest of society. We leave this country to be free, so that our love is accepted and not mistreated as we are in Cuba. Because LGBT people are mistreated there, not like here.”
Human rights associations warn that depriving asylum seekers of the privileges provided for them under the law may be “a serious and manifestly illegal interference,” and note that these people, “whose asylum application is registered,” may remain in the territory until “they are given a definitive response to their request for protection.”
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