On the margins
against Haitian migrants and their descendants in the Dominican
A Christian Aid report, March 2006
Discrimination against Haitian migrants is not a new phenomenon
Dominican Republic (DR). Its roots can be traced to the 1930s
? if not as far back as the postcolonial era. But Christian Aid?s
partner organisations in the DR and Haiti have been alarmed by
the serious escalation in xenophobic and racist attacks against
Haitians and Dominico-Haitians in 2005-06 ? which have resulted
in a number of brutal murders. Despite officially downplaying
the significance of these attacks, the Dominican government organised
mass deportations to Haiti of suspected illegal Haitian immigrants
immediately after the most serious incidents in August 2005. These
deportations have continued into 2006.
While Christian Aid does not question the right of governments
age 58, was born in Haiti but as a young man he moved to
the Dominican Republic, where he worked as a sugar cane
cutter for nearly forty years. One day in October 2000,
he was stopped by Dominican migration police on his way
home from work and deported to Haiti.
J.G. wasn't allowed to inform his wife and three children
that he was being deported. Because their home has no phone,
he has not been able to call his wife since arriving in
Anxious to inform his wife of his whereabouts, J.G. told
Human Rights Watch: "I can't continue without her."
the brutal and arbitrary manner in which the Dominican
authorities have carried out these deportations contravenes
and the DR?s own agreement with Haiti of 1999. Thousands were
without warning, regardless of whether they had identity or
proving their right to remain in the country. Many were not
given a chance to let their children or other relatives know
what had happened to them, or to collect belongings from their
homes. Large numbers of those deposited at isolated border posts
had spent decades, if not their entire lives, in the DR and
no longer had any links with Haiti. Some were dark-skinned Dominicans,
deported simply because they looked Haitian.
Despite the increased incidence of xenophobia, and having to
live under the constant threat of deportation, Haitians continue
to migrate to the DR in their thousands every year. They are
lured by the prospect of employment ? albeit highly exploitative,
hard labour ? in Dominican agriculture, construction and informal
sectors. They are also pushed by the implosion of Haitian economic,
social and political security. Although 29 per cent of theDominican
population lives below the poverty line, its economy nevertheless
a good deal stronger than Haiti?s, where GDP per person is nearly
four times lower. In Haiti, 76 per cent of the population lives
below the poverty line ?
55 per cent in abject poverty (less than US$1 a day). Political
turmoil, combined with sharp rise in violent crime before and
since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in early 2004,
has added impetus to the exodus of Haitians from their country.
Most Haitians have to cross the Dominican border illegally because
the documents they need to enter legally are either too difficult
or too expensive to access. This has prompted a burgeoning trade
in illegal people-trafficking on the border, a practice that
frequently ends in tragedy,
as occurred in January 2006 when 25 Haitians suffocated in a
truck. The very weak rule of law in the border area gives rise
to a gamut of other abuses: for example, border authorities
extorting money from and physically harassing Haitian market-sellers,
most of them women. It is clear that both countries must work
together to create a rule of law in the border area; they must
regulate and control the influx of people crossing the border
in accordance with international law and the DR?s own domestic
and external obligations. In most cases, the status of Haitian
migrants and their descendents who already live the Dominican
Republic remains ambiguous. The number of Haitian immigrants
in the DR is estimated at around 500,000 or between and six
cent of the total population of 8 million; there may be as many
as two million Dominico-Haitians in the DR. A large proportion
of these have no documents. Some arrived in the DR illegally
and never obtained identity documents from the Haitian authorities.
Thousands more, born in the DR, have
been denied Dominican birth certificates, despite the Dominican
constitution clearly stating that those born on Dominican territory
have the right to citizenship. And without documents ? a birth
certificate, an identity card, a passport or work-related migration
papers ? it is difficult and often
impossible to access education or health services. Without documents,
people are also far more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination
in its various forms.
A new Dominican migration law introduced in 2004 has failed
to address the problem of the ?undocumented?. On the contrary,
it has arguably compounded the problem by defining the offspring
of illegal Haitian migrants as being ?in transit? and therefore
exempt from the constitutional right to Dominican citizenship.
Prior to the introduction of this law, no attempt was made to
regularise the status of undocumented citizens who were already
residing in the DR (for example, through a one-off amnesty).
This means that hundreds of thousands of migrants and their
descendants who have spent decades ? if not their whole lives
? in the DR could be deported or targeted by xenophobic and
racist elements at any moment.
In frustration at the intransigence of the Dominican authorities,
local organisations defending the rights of Haitian migrants
and their descendants have taken their grievances to the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights on a number of occasions. In October 2005,
the court ruled that the denial of Dominican citizenship to
those born in the DR (including the children of undocumented
Haitian migrants) contravenes the DR?s own constitution, and
ordered the Dominican government to implement a series of measures
to rectify the situation. The government has reacted defensively
against this judgement and has not yet indicated whether it
will comply. It is essential that the international community
actively encourages the Dominican
authorities to do so.
Christian Aid also calls on the UK government and the EU to
engage the Dominican government over how to challenge xenophobia
and racism, halt summary and arbitrary deportations, and protect
the legal rights of Haitian migrants and their descendants.
The need to address human rights abuses against Haitian migrants
and Dominico-Haitians becomes evermore imperative as
international players increase their aid to, and inward investment
in, the DR. The EU, for example, is currently funding an ambitious
cross-border development programme in the northern part of the
island, which includes the rehabilitation of various roads and
bridges between the two countries and a new marketplace at the
busy border crossing of Ouanaminthe-Dajabon.
The international community must press the Dominican authorities
? ensure that all deportations and repatriations of illegal
immigrants are carried out in full conformity with Dominican
with the minimum standards laid down by the government in 2002,
international human rights standards? respect and adhere to
article 11 of the
Dominican constitution regarding the right to Dominican citizenship
persons born in the DR (jus solis)? take effective action in
order to halt
the recent wave of xenophobic attacks against Haitian immigrants
Dominico-Haitians in various parts of the DR, and ensure they
The international community must also encourage the Dominican
governments to jointly develop a coherent cross-border migration
on respect for the human rights of migrants and their descendants,
rights of the inhabitants of the border region.
Support Haitian culture and artists. See
Campaign 4: Art with soul.
DR condemned for denying birth certificates to 2 girls
Inter-American Human Rights Court rules in favor of girls of Haitian
”… The Court’s binding decision comes after
SEVEN years of litigation by the Association of Women of Haitian
Descent (MUDHA), the International Human Rights Clinic at the
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and the Center
for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)…”
Support Inter-American Court ruling against DR authorities,
Support the amazing and tireless Sonia Pierre’s and MUDHA’s
work in the DR on behalf of Haitians;
DR condemned for denying birth certificates to 2 girls
Inter-American Human Rights Court rules in favor of girls of Haitian
SANTO DOMINGO.- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDR)
condemned the Dominican State to pay US$22,000 in damages to the
children Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico, and to their mothers,
for failing to issue their birth certificates.
The children were left in a state of persons without a country
for more than four years in violation of articles 20 and 24 of
the American Convention.
Both children will receive 8,000 dollars, whereas their mothers,
Leonidas Oliven Yean and Tiramen Bosico Cofi, will receive a total
of 6,000 for costs and expenses, as well as a payment to the Movement
of Haitian Haitian-Dominican (MUDHA), to the Center for Justice
and International Law (CEJIL), and to the International Human
Rights Law Clinic, School of Law, University of Californian at
Berkeley, to compensate the expenses made by these during the
The sentence for damages was handed down on September 8, but presented
yesterday in the country, and stipulates that the Dominican State
must publish, within six months, counted from the notification
in the official newspaper and another newspaper of national circulation,
at least once, the corresponding facts with the decisive points.
The court, with its headquarters in Costa Rica, also orders that
the State conducts an act witnessed by a notary public, of recognition
of international responsibility and apologize to the victims Dilcia
Yean and Violeta Bosico, and to their mothers Leonidas Oliven
Yean, Tiramen Bosico Cofi and Teresa Tucent Mena, sister.
In this act, also in a term of six months, State authorities,
the victims and their relatives will have to participate, as well
as representatives from the media (radio, presses and television).
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights received the case in
the Spanish language in 1998 by Genaro Rincon Mieses and Sonia
Pierre, of (MUDHA), whereas the English version was submitted
in 1999 by Rincon Mieses and Maria Claudia Pulido, of CEJIL; as
well as Laurel Fletcher and Roxana Althoolz, representatives of
the University of Californian at Barkeley.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights Affirms the Human Right to
Nationality and Upholds the International Prohibition on Racial
Discrimination in Access to Nationality Institution: Justice Initiative
Date of origin: 17 October 2005
* Justice Initiative Announcement on Yean
and Bosico v. DR (34K)
* Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic
New York, October 17, 2005 – The Inter-American Court of
Human Rights (IACHR) issued a landmark decision on October 7,
2005, affirming the human right to nationality as the gateway
to the equal enjoyment of all rights as civic members of a state.
The Court’s ruling in Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico v.
Dominican Republic marks the first time that an international
human rights tribunal has unequivocally upheld the international
prohibition on racial discrimination in access to nationality.
This case was brought by two girls of Haitian descent who were
born on Dominican territory and have resided there their whole
lives but were denied Dominican nationality in contravention of
the country’s constitution. As a result, they could not
obtain birth certificates or enroll in school, and they remained
vulnerable to expulsion from their home country.
The Inter-American Court concluded that the Dominican Republic’s
discriminatory application of nationality and birth registration
laws and regulations rendered children of Haitian descent stateless
and unable to access other critical rights such as the right to
education, the right to recognition of juridical personality,
the right to a name, and the right to equal protection before
the law (all enshrined in the American Convention and numerous
other international human rights instruments).
The Court observed that:
ï Nationality is the legal bond that guarantees individuals
the full enjoyment of all human rights as a member the political
ï Although states maintain the sovereign right to regulate
nationality, states’ discretion must be limited by international
human rights standards that protect individuals against arbitrary
state actions. States are particularly limited in their discretion
to grant nationality by their obligations to guarantee equal protection
before the law and to prevent, avoid, and reduce statelessness.
ï In granting nationality, states must abstain from producing
and enforcing regulations that are discriminatory on their face
or that have discriminatory effects on different groups within
ï States have an obligation to avoid adopting legislation
or engaging in practices with respect to the granting of nationality
whose application would lead to an increase in the number of stateless
persons. Statelessness makes impossible the recognition of a juridical
personality and the enjoyment of civil and political rights, and
produces a condition of extreme vulnerability.
ï States cannot base the denial of nationality to children
on the immigration status of their parents.
ï The proof required by governments to establish that an
individual was born on a state’s territory must be reasonable
and cannot present an obstacle to the right to nationality.
The Court ordered the Dominican Republic to reform its birth registration
system and create an effective procedure to issue birth certificates
to all children born on the territory regardless of their parents’
migratory status; open its school doors to all children, including
children of Haitian descent; publicly acknowledge its responsibility
for the human rights violations within six months of the sentence
date; widely disseminate the sentence; and pay monetary damages
to the applicants and their families.
The Justice Initiative submitted an amicus curiae brief to the
Inter-American Court in this case, arguing that racial discrimination
in access to nationality is a violation of human rights and asking
the Court to uphold the international prohibition on racial discrimination
in access to nationality. The Court’s binding decision comes
after seven years of litigation by the Association of Women of
Haitian Descent (MUDHA), the International Human Rights Clinic
at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and
the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
Racial discrimination in access
to nationality is a global problem. This ruling is an important
contribution to international jurisprudence on non-discrimination
and the right to nationality.
More Information To learn more about the case of Dilcia Yean and
Violeta Bosico v. Dominican Republic, and get a copy of the ruling,
The URL for this record is: www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=103001
November 30, 2005
SOLIDARITY WITH HAITIAN IMMIGRANT WORKERS
& HAITIAN-DOMINICAN WORKERS
IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Thursday December 1, 2005
5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Dominican Consulate – New York City
At Times Square between 42nd & 43rd Streets
In light of the continued repression, deportations and violence
against the Haitian Immigrant Workers and Haitian-Dominican Workers
by the Dominican Government and State, we are building a campaign
with the aim of stopping the injustice against those workers.
We know those workers are victims of continued exploitation by
the Dominican Bourgeoisie and trafficking on both sides of the
Island. The Dominican bourgeoisie accumulates big wealth on the
backs of those workers.
Commercial trade between Haiti and the Dominican Republic has
produced more than $800 million dollars a year in favor of the
The Dominican Government is obligated to provide the workers protection
according to International Law.
We demand that the Dominican Government:
– Stop all deportations of Haitian Immigrant Workers &
Haitian- Dominican Workers
– Stop Racist attacks against the Haitian Immigrant Workers
& Haitian- Dominican Workers
– Stop the trafficking of Haitian Immigrant Workers &
Haitian- Dominican Workers General Amnesty for the Haitian Immigrant
Organized by the Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network
Sponsors: Grassroots Haiti Solidarity Committee, the Nicaragua
Solidarity Network, S.E.L.A., Brooklyn Greens(This is a partial
list of sponsors…More will be added). It is part of a series
of picket lines. Other potential dates are December 9 and 15.
Organizations that are willing to sponsor may contact us using
Contact: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tel: 718-284-0889 or 212-674-9499
HAITIANS STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE IN
By Rachel Oswald
Special to World Peace Herald
As many as two million Haitian immigrants live illegally within
the Dominican Republic today, surviving on the fringes of society
rather than live in Haiti where poverty and instability are widespread.
The Dominican Republic, the most developed economy in the Caribbean,
and Haiti, the poorest country in the western Hemisphere according
to the U.N.’s Human Development Index, occupy the island
of Hispaniola together.
Recent Haitian immigrants to the Dominican Republic tend to reside
in the urban centers, such as Santo Domingo, the capital, working
in the informal sector, selling produce on the streets or doing
construction work at very low wages.
“To avoid being deported, they work nearly for free,”
said Domingo de Jesus Rodriguez Garcia, a university student in
Many Haitians live and work in sugar communities called “bateyes.”
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights there
are over 400 bateyes in the Dominican Republic. These communities
range in size from 50 to 2,000 residents. Many of the residents
have been living and working in the Dominican Republic for decades.
Though the majority of bateye residents were born in the Dominican
Republic, they are denied Dominican citizenship in violation of
the Dominican constitution, which states that anyone born on Dominican
land is a citizen of the Dominican Republic.
Estimates of the number of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian
descent in the country range from 200,000 to 2 million, according
to the Catholic Institute for International Relations.
Jean-Daniel Estaphat, a Haitian who has been living in the Dominican
Republic for seven years, said there is a widespread culture of
prejudice on both the Haitian side and the Dominican side.
“Problems start in the family when the fathers teach their
children to hate,” said Estaphat.
“If a Dominican sees a Haitian who has money, he says that
he is not a Haitian, he must be something else,” said Estaphat.
The denial of citizenship impacts the Haitian population living
in the bateyes in a number of negative ways. Children are not
allowed to attend school past the fourth grade; adults cannot
obtain work in the formal sector and earn a paycheck. They also
cannot buy property or open a bank account, and they constantly
live in fear of deportation.
According to the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, the most
common and serious abuse faced by Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian
descent is the arbitrary round-up and forced deportation by the
Dominican army. The army arrests and repatriates Haitians in response
to complaints by local politicians, merchants, farmers and business
owners who want to avoid paying their Haitian workers.
“The situation right now is a political one, politicians
are benefiting from the situation,” said Christopher Doumta
who works for Sugoprosa, an NGO that supports Haitians.
Estaphat says that he is skeptical that the Dominican government
will change its policies toward Haitians anytime soon because
of the many benefits they and their friends receive from employing
low wage Haitian labor.
“They say ‘love’ only with their mouths,”
said Estaphat. “They need to do it, not just speak it.”
“If international unions talk with the Dominican Republic
and say that what they are doing is not correct, maybe something
can be done,” said Doumta.
The Dominican government vehemently denies the many reports of
abuse by NGOs, calling them untrue and biased.
This article was mailed from World Peace Herald
For more great articles, visit us at www.wpherald.com/
Copyright (c) 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights
The New York Times
November 20, 2005
Immigrant Laborers From Haiti Are Paid With Abuse in the Dominican
Republic by GINGER THOMPSON, November 20, 2005
GUATAPANAL, Dominican Republic The tobacco fields are being planted
a little late this year because the Haitian immigrants who work
them were driven away by threats of a lynching.
Haitian farmworkers in Guatapanal, Dominican Republic, were threatened
with lynching in September after two Dominican laborers were killed
under uncertain circumstances.
The troubles in this farm town in the country’s northwest
started in late September, with allegations that a Dominican worker
had been killed by two black men. Too angry to wait for a trial,
local Dominicans armed themselves with machetes and went out for
“Where there are two Haitians, kill one; where there are
three Haitians, kill two,” said leaders of the mobs that
descended on the immigrants’ camps, the Haitians here recalled.
“But always let one go so that he can run back to his country
and tell them what happened.”
Several Haitian workers were beaten by the Dominican mobs, said
Jacobo Martinez Jiminez, an immigrant organizer. One Haitian,
Mr. Martinez said, drowned when he fell into a river as he tried
to get away. At least half of the town’s 2,000 Haitian workers
fled, as they said they had been warned to do, back across the
border to Haiti which shares the island of Hispaniola with the
Dominican Republic. Hundreds of others hid in the hills to the
east, hoping that Dominican tempers would cool so that they could
return to their jobs.
The attacks on Haitians here provide the most recent example of
what international human rights groups describe as the Dominican
Republic’s systematic abuse of Haitians and Dominicans of
Haitian descent. In recent years, those organizations report,
tens of thousands of Haitians have been summarily expelled from
the country by individuals and the government, forcing them to
abandon loved ones, work and whatever money or possessions they
“We do all the work, but we have no rights,” said
Victor Beltran, one of about 150 Haitian immigrants, most of them
barefoot and dressed in rags, who had taken refuge in a rickety
old barn. “We do all the work, but our children cannot go
to school. We do all the work, but our women cannot go to the
“We do all the work,” he said, “but we have
to stay hidden in the shadows.”
Among those who have been deported, said Roxanna Altholz, a lecturer
at the University of California, Berkeley, are Spanish-speaking
Dominicans who were born to Haitian parents but have never visited
Haiti, much less lived there.
At the root of the problem, Ms. Altholz said, is that Haitian
immigrants and their Dominican-born children live in a state of“permanent
illegality,” unable to acquire documents that prove they
have jobs or attend schools or even that they were born in this
In October, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an
opinion that the Dominican Republic was illegally denying birth
certificates to babies born here to Haitian parents, and ordered
the government to end the practice.
Human Rights Watch has also published extensive investigations
of the mass expulsions, and the United Nations Committee on the
Rights of the Child has expressed concerns about Haitian children
being denied access to education and medical care.
“Snatched off the street, dragged from their homes, or picked
up from their workplaces, ‘Haitian-looking’ people
are rarely given a fair opportunity to challenge their expulsion
during these wholesale sweeps,” Human Rights Watch reported
in 2002. “The arbitrary nature of such actions, which myriad
international human rights bodies have condemned, is glaringly
Several Roman Catholic priests here have been threatened with
legal action, including expulsion from the country, after the
authorities found that they had illegally obtained birth certificates
for dozens of Dominican-Haitian babies by falsely declaring them
to be their own. One of the priests has also been receiving death
threats, prompting the church to move him out of the country temporarily
for his safety
“By keeping Haitians in a limbo of illegality, the government
can do whatever they want with them,” said the Rev. Regino
Martinez Breton of the Jesuit-run agency Solidaridad Fronteriza,
in Dajabon, a city on the Dominican border. “The government
can bring as many Haitians here as they want and then throw them
away when they don’t want them anymore.”
Racism helps fuel the anti-immigrant sentiment, human rights groups
say, since Haitians tend to have darker skin than Dominicans and
are therefore often assumed to hold a lower social status.
The two countries have been volatile neighbors for most of the
last two centuries, beginning with Haiti’s domination of
the Dominican Republic after its independence from Spain in the
early 1800's. A century later, Rafael Trujillo, then the Dominican
dictator, ordered the executions of some 37,000 Haitians in what
many historians have called a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Indeed, the river that separates Haiti from the Dominican Republic
is called Massacre River because of the slaughter.
Although anti-Haiti talk has since become a standard part of Dominican
politics, the police and the military have made fortunes trafficking
Haitians into the country to supply labor for agriculture and
construction. Haitians here, desperate to escape the poverty and
upheaval in their country, often say they have little choice but
to accept Dominican exploitation.
Meanwhile, Dominican workers have been slowly pushed out of work
by Haitian immigrants who will work for less, and so they are
leaving their homeland in droves on rickety boats headed toward
Puerto Rico, even though the Dominican Republic is one of the
fastest growing economies in the Caribbean.
Nationalist talk by the elite and frustration among unemployed
Dominicans drive most attacks on Haitians, human rights groups
say. And while one Dominican government after another has promised
change, human rights investigators charge that they have all failed
to guarantee Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born descendants
Guatapanal is not the only place where immigrants have experienced
the Dominican Republic’s version of mob justice. In August,
on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, the capital, four Haitian men
were gagged, doused with flammable liquids and set on fire. Three
of the men, from 19 to 22 years old, died of their injuries. Soon
after, Haiti temporarily recalled the leader of its diplomatic
mission in the Dominican Republic to protest what it described
as a “growing wave of racist violence” against its
After a Dominican woman was stabbed to death in May not far from
here, Dominican mobs went on a rampage, beating Haitian migrants
and setting fire to their houses. Before the next dawn, police
officers and soldiers went door to door pulling some 2,000 Haitian
migrants from their beds and loading them onto buses bound for
At least 500 of those deported, Father Marténez said, were
legal guest workers and Dominican citizens.
“It was a disaster,” said Andrés Carlitos Benson,
a Dominican-born university student who lives in Libertad. “We
showed them our university identification cards, and they tore
them up in front of us and told us to shut up, or they were going
to beat us.
“They took parents away and left their children,”
he added. “They took old people out of their beds without
Stung by mounting international criticism, President Leonel Fernéndez
of the Dominican Republic has publicly expressed concern that
some of his government’s deportations of Haitians have violated
international standards on human rights.
Still, his government rejected the ruling by the Inter-American
Court. Other Dominican officials have said that their government
was struggling with scant resources to secure its porous border
and stop the surging flow of Haitians, which they blame for rising
crime rates and overburdened schools, hospitals and housing.
A statement in late October by the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Dominican Republic also said, “Our nation has a limited
capacity to absorb excessive immigration,” and pleaded for
“This is a very sensitive subject,” said Ambassador
Inocencio Garcia, who is in charge of Dominican-Haitian relations
at the Foreign Ministry. “I can tell you with all sincerity.
We have institutional problems. We are making efforts to correct
them. But in no way can the government of the Dominican Republic
be characterized as one that does not respect basic rights.”
Ambassador Garcia said in an interview that a majority of poor
Dominican children did not have birth certificates. But he did
not respond to charges that Haitian children were routinely denied
The mayor here in Guatapanal, José Francisco Pérez,
described the Haitians coming into this town as “an invasion.”
He said Guatapanal had 2,000 Haitians and only 500 Dominicans.
Area landowners stopped hiring Dominican workers for $10 a day
because Haitians accepted less than half that, he said.
“Now instead of hiring 40 Dominican workers for a field,
they hire 400 Haitians, and the Dominicans are left with nothing,”
Mr. Pérez said. “There’s too many Haitians.
If the government is not going to help us get rid of them, then
we will do it ourselves.”
Some landowners criticized the attacks by the Dominicans, and
they have brought back many of the workers who fled.
“The problem is that there is no real justice,” said
Francisco Cabrera, who rents a few dozen acres of tobacco land
here and uses Haitian laborers. He said the police rarely tried
to stop attacks on them. “So people take justice into their
36, one of the Dominican overseers who led the mobs against the
Haitians, said they did not mean the immigrants any real harm.
But he agreed that the Dominicans here felt outnumbered.
“They are people who do not use bathrooms,” he said,
referring to Haitians, many of whom live in shacks without running
water and electricity. “They walk around drinking and making
a lot of noise at night. Sometimes the men dance with each other.
“It’s not that they are all bad. But they have to
submit to our way of life. If not, these problems will keep happening.”
Copyright © 2005 The New York Times
Haiti: refugees urge UNHCR
to respect their rights,
November 10, 2005
Source: JRS Reports
On 17 October, the Committee for Refugees United for their Rights,
made up of refugees recognised since 1984, accused the Dominican
government of violating their social, economic and political rights.
The refugees urged the representative of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Dominican Republic to
intervene on their behalf. Mr Maxime Eugene, the organisation’s
president called on UNHCR to do what they could to ensure that
their rights are not violated.
The refugees claim to face difficulties renewing documentation.
Each time their ID cards expire, it takes months or even years
to renew them. In fact, frequently government officials refuse
to renew their ID cards claiming that their files can’t
be found or don’t exist. The refugees urged UNHCR to assist
them in such circumstances.
The organisation also condemned the Dominican government for continuing
to deny birth certificates to Dominican children born to Haitian
parents, even though many of their parents have been resident
in the Dominican Republic for over 10 years.
According to the UNHCR representative, Ms Sandrine Desamour, each
time UNHCR sits down with the Dominican migration authorities,
they flatly refuse to establish a department dedicated to resolve
refugee cases. The spokesperson for the Haitian refugees said
that even though UNHCR is prepared to cover the costs involved,
the Dominican government officials still refuse.
Mr Eugene pointed out that the Dominican Republic, as a member
of the United Nations and signatory to the 1951 UN Convention
Relating to Refugees is legally obligated to respect refugee rights.
According to Mr Eugene, Article 33 of the refugee convention and
chapter three of article 13 of Dominican Act 2230 which established
the National Commission for Refugees (CONARE), are being violated
by the Dominican authorities. Moreover, even with ample evidence
and witnesses, the authorities on occasion deported the children
of refugees and have also detained refugees as if they were irregular
The refugees called on the international community to put pressure
on the Dominican government to ensure that their rights are protected.
Without national ID papers, they are unable to take up paid employment
and without birth certificates their children may well be prevented
from attending school.
Story dated: 27/10/05
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: HUMAN
RIGHTS ABUSES CONTINUE ON THE BORDER - Jesuit Refugee Service
Despite the tragic deaths on 11 January of 25 Haitian migrants
who suffocated in a van while attempting to enter the Dominican
Republic, serious human rights violations continue to be committed
on the northern Haitian-Dominican border. These were the principal
findings of a report published by JRS Dominican Republic on 4
Since the tragic events on 11 January illegal smuggling organisations
continue take people into the Dominican Republic. In response,
the Dominican authorities have deported substantially more irregular
"It has become increasingly difficult to monitor these forced
repatriations. We do not know how many deportations are taking
place. The Dominican migration office is not providing their Haitian
counterparts with copies of the deportation orders. They have
been carrying the deportation orders very late at night and at
non-official border points", Mr Wooldy Edson Louidor, Advocacy
Officer, JRS Haiti, told Dispatches on 5 April.
"Even though the majority of deportations carried out in
the last three months are of persons irregularly resident in the
Dominican Republic, some of the migrants that were deported were
the victims of serious human rights abuses. We have documented
three such cases", said Mr Louidor.
On 14 January, a 24 year-old Haitian attempting to enter the Dominican
without a visa was allegedly shot and abandoned by Dominican border
guards. The second such case was a man in possession of his passport
and a valid visa. After presenting his documentation to Dominican
immigration officials, he was allegedly singled out as a Haitian,
pulled off the bus, assaulted, detained for three days and deported.
The last such case was a young woman who, two days after giving
birth was arrested and dumped near Wanament on the Haitian side
of the border. She claims to have been left without any money
to buy medicines or food to take care of her baby.
"Serious human rights abuses of Haitian migrants in Dominican
territory have become the norm on its northern border. It is time
that the Dominican authorities come up with concrete solutions
to these human rights violations and prosecute Dominican officials
who commit these crimes against migrants, be they regular or irregular.
The Dominican authorities are legally obliged to recognise the
legal documentation carried by migrants, as well as the dignity,
integrity and human rights of all migrants without exception",
added Mr Louidor.
For further information in French and Spanish see www.jrs.net/reports
"And the Atlantic waves rattle on for more, obsessed with
the taste of Africa's blood. it closes in,......the Atlantic rattles
on for more, obsessed with the taste of Mocha blood ever since
Africa's Middle Passage's mud. it closes in, blasting our ruby
flood to pieces, or to bougie blue. (Breaking
Sea Chains - http://www.margueritelaurent.com/writings/breakingchains_1.html
Support Inter-American Court ruling against DR authorities, Support
Sonia Pierre’s and MUDHA’s work in the DR on behalf
Solidarity with Haitian Workers in Dominican Republic
Support those who do not strum Haitian dependency, prolong and
increase Haitian suffering.