During the last four months, the expulsion of Haitian migrants from Dominican Republic. The situation has raised tensions between the two Caribbean nations, while organizations such as the Haitian Citizen Protection Office report attacks and human rights violations against the deported population.
For years, Haiti has lived a serious humanitarian crisis product of various political, natural, economic and social events. In recent months, however, the situation on the island has worsened, which has led thousands of people to emigrate to other countries in the region. One of the natural destinations is the neighboring nation: the Dominican Republic.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship condemns the shameful and inhuman treatment that tarnish the image of the Dominican Republic in the world and undermine the spirit of peace and harmony that should guide relations between the two countries that share the island,” Indian in a statement the Haitian Foreign Ministry last Sunday, after months of keeping silent about the situation.
Different organizations and associations have requested that the repatriation of Haitian migrants be stopped, but so far the request has not been heard.
Repatriation in numbers
The civil organization Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR) esteem that daily between 300 and 700 Haitians are expelled from Dominican lands. In accordance with reports available of the association, between July Y october As of 2022, 34,945 Haitians have been repatriated through official and unofficial points, located along the binational border.
The Citizen Protection Office (OPC), an independent institution for the promotion and protection of human rights in Haiti, account a larger number. In August alone, the organization registered 60,204 expulsions “in extremely degrading conditions.” While in October, 14,801 forced returns were observed, 5,000 of which were made from the Dominican Republic between days 17 and 24.
One of the most pressing circumstances has been the expulsion of unaccompanied minors from the Dominican Republic. According to calculate GARR, between May and September, 800 minors in this condition were returned by the Dominican authorities, to the detriment of the safety and basic rights of children.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) records the deportation of at least 1,800 minors alone from January to the first days of November, reported the agency told CNN.
The Government of the Dominican Republic, however, pointed Tuesday that of the more than 150,000 foreigners repatriated by the country since 2020, none has been an unaccompanied minor.
“All deportation is carried out in full and absolute respect for the dignity of people and their human rights,” Venancio Alcántara, general director of Migration, told local media. “At all times the minors are with their parents and, when they have not been located, the minors are referred directly to the National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) that is in charge of their care,” the official added last Tuesday.
UNHCR calls for deportations to stop
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged on November 4 to the States to not deport migrants Haitians due to the lack of basic goods and services in the country, but also because of the danger that returnees face of suffering persecution, torture or other serious or irreparable damage to their physical integrity, in the context of the wave of violence that is sweeping to the island.
Despite the organization’s call, the expulsions from the Dominican Republic continued in the following days, which led the UNHCR high commissioner, Volker Türk, to pronounce directly about it on November 10.
“I reiterate my call to all countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic, to stop the deportation of Haitians,” insisted Türk, who also asked the nation to prevent any act of “xenophobia, discrimination and other forms of intolerance based on the national, racial or ethnic origin, or immigration status”.
The Dominican president, Luis Abinader, classified the request as irresponsible and indicated that same day that his administration would continue with the deportations. In fact, he promised to increase expulsions in the coming weeks.
The controversy with the US
In light of continued human rights violations, the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a travel alert to its citizens for the arbitrary arrests, detentions and interrogations of people on the island, due to the color of their skin.
The Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs disqualified the statement from the US representation, calling it “unfounded, untimely and unhappy”, while insisting that the migratory flows registered in the last year from Haiti violate the country’s national security.
The Foreign Ministry also recalled that, from February 2021 to the same month of 2022, the Government of Joe Biden expelled nearly 20,000 Haitians and criticized the Embassy for making such serious statements against the Caribbean country, without having evidence to prove acts of discrimination or xenophobia on the part of the authorities.
The border blockade
On Monday, November 21, representatives of various civil society organizations vehicular access blocked of the border that separates the Haitian community of Ouanaminthe from the Dominican city of Dajabón, to demand that the Abinader government “suspend the violation of the rights of migrants,” said the organizers of the peaceful demonstration, according to reports La voix de l’Île.
“Starting today, we assume our commitment as a people to say no to all forms of violence and physical attacks that our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic are suffering,” reported Bozelain Joazard, one of the initiators of the mobilization on the border, who He explained that the blockade could be extended until a permanent solution to the migration crisis is found.
return in #Haiti, via the frontière Dajabón/Ouanaminthe, de plusieurs milliers de migrants haïtiens ce mondi 21 november. In between times, all the activities are paralyzed, in the cadre of a protest in support of compatriots victims in #RD. pic.twitter.com/beNkjzi7gA
— La voix de l’Île_4VDI (@Lavoixdelile) November 21, 2022
Dominican businessmen, consulted by News WITHOUTThey regretted the blockade, considering that it would harm commercial activities, but they defended the repatriation measures implemented by their government.
The humanitarian crisis in Haiti
The political, economic and social situation in Haiti has continued to worsen. In recent years, the crisis has escalated rapidly in the face of rising crime, disease, rising famines, economic decline, and poor governance.
According to the United Nations, around of 4.7 million Haitiansalmost half the population, face acute famine, while for the first time in the country’s history, families are on the brink of starvation.
The violence has caused displacement of about 21,500 people, according to United Nations estimates, while from August 2021 to May 2022, 936 citizens were kidnapped and 1,448 murdered, reports the organization Human Right Watch.
As if that were not enough, the country registers the highest covid-19 fatality rate in the Caribbean and the fifth highest on the continent, of agreement with Johns Hopkins University. In addition, until October 24, there were registered 1,700 possible cases of cholera in the country, half of them in children under 14 years of age, reported UNICEF.
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, in July 2021, the political, economic and social stability of the nation has deteriorated rapidly and in the absence of a political agreement, the resolution of the most pressing problems seems far away.
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