International Protection in Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in November 2000, and the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons(the 1954 Convention) in 1966, but is not yet a State party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

In the absence of national legislation for the protection of refugees or the granting of asylum under the international refugee instruments, asylum-seekers and refugees remain subject to the provisions of the 1976 Immigration Act. UNHCR performs all refugee status determination procedures under its Mandate, while UNHCR’s local NGO implementing partner, Living Water Community, assumes responsibility for identifying cases of concern to UNHCR and ensuring their access to protection screening, counseling, humanitarian assistance, and refugee status determination procedures.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has developed a policy entitled “A phased approach towards the establishment of a National Policy to address refugee and asylum matters in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago” (Refugee Policy). It was formally adopted by Cabinet in June 2014. The policy sets out general principles related to refugee protection and includes a 3-phased plan of action, which progressively develops national capacity to receive and decide on refugee claims, pending the adoption of enabling legislation.