For Immediate Release: August 15, 2015
Rights 4 ALL in the DR, a national coalition against human rights abuses in the Dominican Republic, is gravely concerned over the escalating human rights crisis in the Dominican Republic. According to media reports, the Dominican government has green-lighted mass deportations.
La Dirección Nacional de Migración and Dominican police are stopping those perceived to “look Haitian” in the street and deporting them to Haiti, continuing an unacceptable patternn of government-sanctioned profiling, racism, and human rights abuses that results in broken families and communities.
#Rights4AllinDR will continue its vigorous efforts of to shine a spotlight on these abuses until families and communities are no longer being destroyed, and instead enjoy inclusive policies that respect human dignity and foster prosperity.
We call on the U.S. government to leverage their economic and political power to insist that the Dominican Republic restores full citizenships to Dominicans of Haitian descent and allow real due process for Haitian immigrants to apply for to become regularized. It is time that the U.S. lives up to its reputation as a defender of human rights at home and abroad.
Article 22(5) of the American Convention on Human Rights states that “No one can be expelled from the territory of the state of which he is a national or be deprived of the right to enter it.” In the case of children, the protection against expulsions that they enjoy under international law is extended to their parents on the basis of the best interests of the child and the interest of family unity. Thus, it is a violation of human rights to conduct deportations in this “stop and frisk” manner based solely on racial profiling and without due process to inform people of their rights prior to beginning deportation proceedings. In just one account, 4 of the 7 people who were rounded up and sent to deportation centers along the border with Haiti had their proper legal documents.
The Dominican government has refused to negotiate a protocol for deportations with the Haitian government that respects human rights and dignity prior to this official announcement, reports from the media and human rights organizations show that the military, police, and vigilante groups in the Dominican Republic have participated in a campaign of terror and intimidation, forcing people to flee their home, families, and livelihoods. Now over 60,000 people- Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian immigrants alike- have fled the DR. Many recount experiences of being grabbed on the street and dumped at the border, families being torn apart, and legal identification documents being destroyed by Dominican officials. Many Dominicans, as well as Haitian immigrants who have lived in the DR for decades, have no ties to Haiti and no family there. Hundreds of these refugees now reside in squalid tent camps along the Haitian border.
“[M]any who are fleeing have lived for decades in Dominican Republic. A Dominican Republic court ruling has retroactively stripped citizenship of native Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. Many people are being forced to prove their citizenship and those of Haitian descent believe the issue is racist.” -- NBC and The Associated Press
#Rights4ALLinDR is a broad coalition of organizations and individuals advocating around one simple idea: the most basic tenets of human rights and dignity should be extended to all people in the Dominican Republic regardless of race, class, or ethnicity. These rights include a restoration of citizenship for Dominicans of Haitian descent and real due process- without fear of violence and intimidation- to allow Haitian immigrants residing in the DR to come out of the shadows and have their status regularized. Human rights know no borders and bow to no nation's sovereignty.
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