Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard officers wounded a mother and killing her baby after opening fire at a boat carrying Venezuelan migrants on Feb. 5 night.
In a statement on Facebook, the Coast Guard said its personnel tried to intercept the boat using its horn, searchlights and flares, and warning gun shots, but the boat continued with “aggressive maneuvers,” attempting to ram into a Coast Guard vessel.
The Coast Guard said the “ramming effort” of the boat caused crew members “to fear for their lives,” prompting them to fire at the engines of the boat “in self-defense.”
Officials did not specify how many shots were fired.
When the Coast Guard crew boarded the vessel, they found migrants who had been hiding, including a woman “who was holding an infant and who indicated that she was bleeding.”
The woman was transferred to a local health facility while the infant “was found to be unresponsive.”
The remaining migrants will be processed according to the immigration and health protocols, the Coast Guard said, without specifying how many migrants were on board.
United Nations agencies issued a joint statement on Feb. 7, saying they were “deeply saddened” by the baby’s death and called for members states to “establish mechanisms that will help protect the rights of people on the move.”
“States should take measures to guarantee that the right to life of refugees and migrants is always respected. We call on the authorities to investigate this incident,” Alberto Brunori, regional representative at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
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