In the Dominican Republic, a 'hunt' for Haitian immigrants
Thousands of Haitians have been deported from the Dominican Republic in October and November 2022, despite a call from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to stop the expulsions amid an ongoing health and security crisis in Haiti. Rights groups in Haiti have denounced the deportations and accused Dominican authorities of enforcing a racist immigration policy.
The Dominican Republic says it deported 22,000 Haitians in October alone. But NGOs in Haiti have accused Dominican authorities of arbitrary expulsions and carrying out arrests with racial motives.
We spoke to Sam Guillaume, an advocate at GARR, a support group for Haitian refugees:
Currently, the situation is extremely complicated for Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic since their rights continue to be violated.
They are mistreated. They are taken from their homes during the night and taken away outright, regardless of their condition or their situation. Without knowing if they are there legally or not.
The idea is not to go after Haitian migrants who are in the country illegally, but to drive out all Haitians who end up on Dominican soil.
Moreover, if you are Black and you have curly hair, they think you are a Haitian.
The Dominican Republic has denied any racism and pledged to clamp down harder.
But Guillaume reports that it is getting more and more difficult to find the resources necessary to help repatriated Haitian migrants.
More than 150 gangs are operating in poverty-stricken Haiti, where their first victims are often the civilian population. It's in this context that the Dominican Republic has deported more than 100,000 Haitians so far in 2022.
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