Haitians were deported from the Dominican Republic in “cage-like” trucks

Authorities in the Dominican Republic deported 15,000 Haitians in October 2022 alone, despite calls from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to stop these forced displacements due to the precarious health and security situation in Haiti. A group in Haiti that helps deportees says Dominican authorities are targeting all Haitians, regardless of their immigration status.

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“All the trucks are full. All of them. Three, four, full!” says the man filming a video that has gone viral since it was posted on social media on November 5. From his car, the man films a line of seven trucks belonging to the Dominican Republic’s immigration authorities lined up along a road. Several dozen people appeared to be locked in the back of these trucks, which have cage doors.

Other images of these expulsions have also circulated on social media and in the local press.

Haïti chérie The comedian Mathias Dandor expulsé par le Service d’Immigration de la République Dominicanine pic.twitter.com/HuQEQA3N9l

— Michele B. Duvalier (@mbduvalier) November 11, 2022 “All it takes is a face that looks a little Haitian and they put you in a car that looks like a cage”

A total of 14,800 Haitians were deported in October alone, according to a Haitian organization called Le Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés (GARR, or ‘Support Group for the Repatriated and Refugees’). Sam Guillaume leads the group’s communications:

As has become evident on social media, the situation for Haitians in the Dominican Republic has become dire in recent days. The country decided to deport all Haitian migrants. And the Dominican Republic doesn’t just deport them, no, they reserve special treatment for the Haitians. They have been beaten, abused, thrown into prison.

At GARR, we provide support to migrants whom the Dominican Republic has decided to deport. We do our best to provide at least some support to some of them. Our focus is the town of Belladère, near the border. We have provided housing for those struggling to return home and helped them reconnect with their families. We have also distributed clothes as some of them came in pyjamas. Some also require hospital care.

“One of the people we helped was Dominican. He is black and was mistaken for a Haitian

No one has checked the documents of the Haitian citizens being deported. Not everyone is undocumented. All it takes is a face that looks a bit Haitian and they put you in a car that looks like a cage.

In October, one of the people we helped was a Dominican. He is black and was mistaken for a Haitian and therefore was treated just like other Haitians. In just one day, November 17, we helped 60 unaccompanied minors.

This post says, in French, “This Dominican national is called Jonas Biss-Biceinth. He arrived in Haiti with the many Haitians deported by the Dominican authorities at the end of October. He had his ID card but he had no opportunity to identify himself. He was arrested on the streets of Santo Domingo, then imprisoned before being deported to Haiti. He was believed to be Haitian because of his skin color.”

Dominican president calls UN declarations ‘unacceptable and irresponsible’

On November 10, the United Nations called on the Dominican Republic to stop deporting Haitians.

“A week ago, I called for an end to deportations to Haiti, given the human rights and humanitarian crises the country is facing. I am concerned to see that forced returns of Haitians to Haiti from the Dominican Republic continue,” said the UN’s high commissioner. for human rights Volker Türk in a statement. “Unceasing armed violence and systematic violations of human rights in Haiti do not currently allow for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of Haitians to the country.”

Dominican President Luis Abinader responded to the UN the same day, calling their declarations “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

“The Dominican Republic will not only continue the deportations [of Haitians]but it will increase them,” the president said.

The director general of migration in the Dominican Republic, Venancio Alcántara Valdez, added that the Dominican Republic was a “sovereign” country with the right to deport all foreigners staying illegally in the territory.

“The international community should not be silent”

Sam Guillaume wants to see a stronger global response:

President Luis Abinader just completely ignored UN demands to stop deportations. He said not only would deportations continue, they would also increase. The international community should not be silent. The United Nations must continue to put pressure on the Dominican authorities to stop the deportations because the conditions in Haiti are not right for a return.

Peace must return to Haiti. The reason so many Haitians leave the country to go to the Dominican Republic is because there is a lot of insecurity caused by the gangs that control different parts of the country. The cost of living is also high. So Haitians are looking for a better life elsewhere.

On November 10, Haitian government spokesman Homero Figueroa posted a summary of the deportations on Twitter. According to his numbers, 60,204 people of Haitian origin were “repatriated” between August and October 2022. In the full year of 2022, that number rose to 108,436 people.

60,204 people of Haitian nationality were repatriated to their country in the period from August to October, for a total of 108,436 during the whole year. pic.twitter.com/J13AmEGO1n

— Homero Figueroa (@HomeroFigueroaG) November 10, 2022

On February 20, construction began on a wall on the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The Dominican president said the purpose of the wall was to “control” immigration and smuggling.

The Haitian government has found it impossible to control the more than 150 gangs that largely rule the country. Our team investigated these armed groups in the capital, Port-au-Prince. You will find our investigation, “Haiti: In the grip of the gangs”, below.

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