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    13th of February, 2022. Guyana, South America

    Last updated: February 13, 2022 at 23:03 pm

    On the 9th of January, 2022, we published an article about a 29-year old Guyanese woman who is stuck in a Syrian refugee camp and who is appealing to the Guyana government to bring her home. Read Story: Guyanese Woman Trapped in Syria Appeals for Help in Returning Home.

    According to the woman, who identifies herself as Rafena Kumar, what is needed for her repatriation at this point is for the Guyana Government to write to the Kurdish forces requesting her repatriation.

    Via the news story which this publication published a month ago, and various subsequent spinoffs from other media outlets, the Guyana government was made aware of the situation and, according to Rafena’s mother, government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made contact with the family in Essequibo saying that they are investigating the matter in hopes of repatriating Rafena to Guyana.

    However, it has been over 1 month since we published this initial story and about 1 month since officials from the Foreign Affairs Department reportedly visited the home of Faziela Kumar – who is the mother of Rafena Kumar. According to Faziela, the government officials requested to see documents which can validate Rafena’s claim of being a Guyanese. All of these documents were provided and the officials promised to act on the matter. With the permission of Rafena’s mother, we are attaching some of the documents here.

    This publication has also been able to verify, through people know knew Rafena personally, that her story is true and that she is indeed a Guyanese.

    On the 12th of January, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hugh Todd, speaking to Newsroom, said that he is trying to validate the woman’s claim of being a Guyanese – a claim that has already been validated by this publication a long time ago. He also said that he could not confirm that the woman is actually Guyanese even though he was provided with overwhelming evidence.

    “We have not seen anything that can validate (her nationality) but we are trying to get some details.”

    Minister todd speaking to newsroom on the 12th of january, 2022.

    Faziela Kumar also informed this publication that officials from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Force have visited her home and requested to see certain documents which were provided to them.

    This publication called the Ministry of Foreign affairs on several occasions over the last few weeks in order to find out if any progress has been made in repatriating the young woman. Unfortunately, we were told that we had either reached the wrong section of the office or that they were not aware of the case.

    Minister Hugh Todd, despite having received overwhelming evidence to prove that Rafena is Guyanese, has said that he is still unable to validate her nationality.

    Nevertheless, government officials have told the family that the case is “receiving attention,” but it is unclear at this point what exactly that means.

    Team Guyana, South America wishes to remind all relevant authorities that the lives of these three people remain in jeopardy each day that they remain in Syria, and urges the Guyana Government to move faster in repatriating Rafena Kumar, along with her two children.

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