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UNHCR Refugees in Cuba: We need to be heard

UNHCR Refugees in Cuba: We need to be heard

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This petition has been created by Refugee U. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Refugee U.
started this petition to
OFII, OFPRA, FRC, FTDA, UNHCR, Prime Minister of France Mr.Jean Castex

We are a group of UNHCR refugees in Cuba since 2015. After waiting for 3 years, our resettlement process started in 2018 when UNHCR Geneva office submitted our cases to OFII. Thankfully we were accepted by OFII in 2019.

We are very grateful to OFII and the French government for giving us asylums and look forward to starting new productive lives in France. However, to this day we are still waiting to be resettled. We have made numerous inquiries about this delay but were never given a clear response or explanation as to why it has taken over a year and half (since the submission of our cases) with no clear indication as to when our visas to France will be issued.

Although Cuba is a beautiful island with friendly and helpful people, life has been extremely
difficult. While we have been waiting for over 5 years, no access to employment,
restrictions on education, health services and medication; ongoing food shortages;
and uncertainty about the future are some of the difficulties that have made our lives a living nightmare that sometimes seems endless to us. Oftentimes we feel forgotten and alone on this
beautiful island which is a paradise for tourism and people who have money but 
a hell for living and people like us.

As refugees we are not allowed to work in Cuba and are dependent on a minimal humanitarian allowance of $1.93/day which is barely enough to survive. In addition, due to US sanctions, Cuba is facing a food shortage which has made it even harder for us refugees to find food. Our situation has become dire particularly considering Covid-19. The pandemic has exacerbated shortages of basic food and prices. For example, a carton of eggs that usually would cost $1, is now $7. Frequently we spend our days for hours in long lines to buy basic goods including food and hygienic products  , and we couldn’t even find any shampoo , tooth paste or laundry detergent to buy for the past few months. 

Every single day we wake up with the hopes of hearing from the French embassy to get our visas to France and every night we go to bed wishing it will happen the next day. As human beings we have hopes and dreams of starting our new lives in our new country and being able to be productive members of the society.We need to stay physically and emotionally healthy to be able to serve our future country, however our current situation is adversely impacting our wellbeing.

Dear French authorities, as human rights are the foundations of the French Republic and given the context and urgency of our situation, we humbly request that you consider expediting our resettlement to France so that our long and difficult journey will end and we will settle and prosper in our new home in France.

Posted (Updated )