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Philadelphia – March Against DR Mass Deportations

July 2, 2015 - 12:00

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2015

Marc Antoine
484-340-6493
mantoine87@gmail.com

Press Release

Who: The Haitian Diaspora in Philadelphia

What: March To Protest Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Deportations of Dominicans of Haitian Descent in the Dominican Republic

When: Thursday July 2nd, 2015 (3pm-6pm)

Where: March From Philadelphia City Hall to the Dominican Consulate at 437 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Haitian Diaspora stands in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent who have been stripped of their citizenship and are now in danger of being deported. The Haitian Diaspora stands against the illegal crimes on humanity and ethnic cleansing that the Dominican Republic is committing. The Haitian Diaspora seeks to promote awareness on the severity of this atrocity and demand that our local communities, country, and the international bodies respond in haste to the needs of the people.

We will not sit idly by as the Dominican Republic institutes systems of ethnic cleansing that mirrors Apartheid South Africa. We will not sit idly by as the Dominican Republic retroactively revokes the citizenship of their people mirroring Germany’s Nazi regime. We have decided to stand up and speak out against injustice and we hope that we can use our voice as a large Diaspora population to advocate for the marginalized and the muted.

To that end, the Haitian Diaspora in Philadelphia will join numerous organizations and movements in Haiti as well as other Haitian Diaspora populations throughout the U.S. as we march simultaneously in our respective locales on Thursday July 2nd, 2015 at 3pm. In Philadelphia we will march from City Hall to the office of the Consulate of the Dominican Republic.

For more information call 484 340 6493 or 215 527 6698
Mantoine87@gmail.com or Stephanie.sylvain18@gmail.com

L’union Fait La Force

People of Haitian Descent Must Decide Whether to Leave DR

July 2, 2015 - 08:37

The Dominican Republic (DR) promised to deport those who failed to meet a June 17th registration deadline but so far, the expected mass deportations have not begun. Instead, thousands of Haitian migrants have fled DR for fear of impending violent expulsions, attacks from neighbors, and losing their possessions. Those who decided to stay, along with the human rights community, are wondering whether DR will begin deportations after the registration grace period (ends August 1). Some advocates say that continued international pressure on DR will prevent officials from carrying out the mass deportations that have made preparations for.

Dominican Republic Deportations: Facing Uncertain Future, Immigrants Begin Leaving For Haiti

Brianna Lee, International Business Times

July 2, 2015

For vulnerable Haitian migrants living in the Dominican Republic, the threat of expulsion still hangs in the air two weeks after a deadline expired for undocumented immigrants to register their status in the country. But another deadline is approaching fast, and people at risk of deportation are dividing into two uneasy groups: those who have already sold or packed whatever belongings they could carry and headed for the border, and those who are staying in the country, bracing for whatever the future might hold.

For months, Dominican officials announced they would begin deporting those without legal status after June 17, the end of the registration period for undocumented immigrants to submit a bid for temporary legal status. They’ve since added on a 45-day period, ending Aug. 1, for people to submit the finalized paperwork. Deportations targeting unregistered Haitian migrants and potentially also Dominican-born people of Haitian descent are expected to resume after that date. But there is still a shroud of mystery over who may be at risk, how the deportations will be carried out and what their fates will be in Haiti.

In the meantime, migrants are streaming out of the country in what officials have termed “voluntary returns” to Haiti, packing up families and belongings into free government shuttles hurtling toward the border. A quiet lull has settled in the streets of several towns as migrants stay behind closed doors, pondering their next move.

Haitian Foreign Minister Lener Renauld warned this week of a looming crisis in the coming months if Dominican officials move forward with a massive crackdown on immigrants. “The situation represents a risk of humanitarian catastrophe, a destabilizing factor for the country’s security,” he told a group of United Nations officials in Port-au-Prince Tuesday.

The situation isn’t yet at the level of a humanitarian crisis, said Gregoire Goodstein, chief of mission in Haiti for the International Organization for Migration, an inter-governmental organization based in New York. “We don’t know when we might reach that point,” Goodstein said. “There’s no advance notice about how many people will get deported, or through which border crossing points. There’s still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to future so-called organized deportations that the government has announced.”

So far 25,517 people have left the Dominican Republic of their own accord since June 18, the Dominican migration agency announced Monday. But that figure is hard to verify, given the porous border between the two countries, which share an island, and the lack of a formal repatriation process, Goodstein said. “There’s nobody really there to systematically register people on the Haitian side, and there’s no real unique way of questioning those people,” he said.

Those departing the Dominican Republic are opting to leave now, rather than risk more tumultuous deportations at the hands of officials later, said Robin Guittard, Caribbean campaigner for Amnesty International. He recently completed a two-week visit to the Dominican Republic to survey the situation on the ground. “There’s a history in the Dominican Republic, and Haitian migrants know of it very well, of arbitrary deportations, including violence, mistreatment, separation of families and loss of belongings,” he said. “People who spent many years working and struggling to make a living in the DR prefer to sell everything and leave instead of risking losing it.”

Undocumented Haitian migrants make up the vast majority of those currently leaving the Dominican Republic. Those who have families and strong ties in Haiti are returning to their communities by whatever means they are able to. But others whose lives were rooted in the Dominican Republic have fewer options, and there’s no formal system in place to care for those people yet. In the meantime, civil society groups are taking up the burden, providing basic services and shelter for migrants at the border with nowhere to go.

“For someone coming in who had spent 20 years living under radar in the Dominican Republic, if they are deported, there’s nothing there [in Haiti] for them, no funded assistance program,” Goodstein said. “You might have civil society groups, religious organizations and charities providing services, but for how long, I have no idea.” Haiti’s national office for migration has a mandate to help reintegrate deportees, but the agency is underfunded, he said.

Guittard, who visited the Dominican Republic in mid-June, recounted meeting a 40-year-old woman who had been living in the country since she was 3 months old and now faced the harsh dilemma of whether to leave everything behind. “She said she lost all the fruits of her work in her lifetime in the country,” he said.

For the moment, the atmosphere at the border is abnormally calm, according to Pedro Cano Olivares, a coordinator in the Dominican border town of Jimaní with the Jesuit Refugee Service, a Catholic organization based in Washington, D.C. Most of the recent returnees are families who had spent many years in the Dominican Republic and were unable to register their status in the country for a variety of administrative reasons, he explained in an email to International Business Times.

“The fear of being deported has intensified among the migrant population” in some provinces, particularly areas where Dominican authorities did not open offices for people to register their status, he wrote. The Aug. 1 deadline, as well as the July 6 end date for the voluntary repatriation period, is drumming up anxiety among human rights groups over what may happen next, Cano added.

Meanwhile, uncertainty still abounds over what may happen to thousands of Dominican-born people of Haitian descent who have no home other than the Dominican Republic. This group of around 200,000 people lost their right to Dominican citizenship after a controversial 2013 court ruling that eliminated citizenship by birth, although the government later allowed them to register for naturalization under a special program. On June 26, however, the government announced it would verify the nationality of an estimated 55,000 people who had some form of documentation that they were born in the country.

But for Dominicans who lack such documentation, the future is much murkier. While more than 8,000 people in this category applied for the government naturalization program ahead of a Feb. 1 deadline, many have not yet received responses to their applications. Thousands more have not applied for the program at all, and there’s no legal recourse for them to stay in the country if caught by immigration authorities.

Dominican authorities have emphasized that they would not deport anyone who applied to the program, or those with documentation of birth in the Dominican Republic. “But it’s unclear what mechanisms are put in place to ensure they are not inadvertently expelling or deporting people who are Dominican-Haitian,” said Cassandre Theano, an associate legal officer at the Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative in New York who coordinates the group’s work in the Dominican Republic.

Human rights organizations note that deportations in the Dominican Republic are often carried out without any form of due process. The Organization of American States announced this week it would be monitoring deportations from the Dominican Republic to ensure they were being carried out in accordance with international law.

Civil society groups in Haiti have stepped up to argue on behalf of Dominican-born people who have been expelled from the Dominican Republic, Theano added. “But that’s just one or two cases. If there are 1,000 people it will be a lot more difficult for civil society to try to negotiate to get them back in the country,” she said.

In the meantime, nobody can say for certain whether Dominican officials will actually carry out deportations en masse in the coming weeks, despite government assurances that the process will be slow and orderly. “The country is very aware that they’re under international scrutiny and that many people are looking at them,” Guittard said. “They might be reluctant to start things massively soon.”

What happens in the coming weeks may depend on whether that international spotlight stays on the Dominican Republic after the Aug. 1 deadline. “I think the media attention was really unexpected, and once you started to see tons of articles and radio and TV covering this, it threw a wrench in their plans,” Theano said. “But come Aug. 1 or whenever it is they start deporting, if there’s no pressure or media attention, they may very well move forward.”

Click HERE for the original article.

DR Must Take Responsibility for the People It Made Stateless

July 2, 2015 - 07:12

Since the Dominican Republic (DR) announced that it would soon begin deporting those who failed to meet registration deadlines in February and June, it has faced a strong outcry from the human rights community. Instead of working to change the status of the estimated 200,000 who were made stateless by DR’s laws, DR has launched a public relations campaign to show the world that it has done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, countless Dominicans of Haitian descent are unable to go to school, work, or even take care of their children because of their uncertain status in DR.

Dominican Republic’s PR spin will not end the suffering of the stateless

Chiara Liguori, International Business Times

July 2, 2015

Marisol is 26 years old. She was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents. Neither she nor her siblings were registered at birth, as their parents had no formal identification.

When they died, she was 10 and had no other choice but to become a domestic worker with a wealthy family in Santo Domingo. They promised to send her to school, but instead forced her to work 15 hours a day. They beat her up and never let her set foot in a school.

The lack of a birth certificate prevented Marisol from ever getting an identity card, essential to access jobs, health care and education. In late 2014, the Dominican authorities launched a six-month naturalisation plan that was meant to help people like Marisol obtain identity documents.

But by the time she had heard about the scheme, it had already expired.

To make matters worse, the family she works for as a cleaner is now threatening to sack her, afraid of the consequences of employing an undocumented person. With no identity papers, Marisol cannot register her children either. “I hoped they could have a better future, but without identity documents it is not going to be possible,” she told me.

This heart-breaking story is just one of the dozens I heard during an Amnesty International visit to the Dominican Republic in the past two weeks. And yet, the Dominican government insists it has given all undocumented people born in the country to foreign parents, like Marisol, every opportunity to access identity papers.

Naturalisation

Dominican authorities who met with us did not seem willing to acknowledge that many people were left out of the six-month “naturalisation plan” they set up following a 2013 ruling that deprived thousands of people of their Dominican nationality virtually overnight.

They told us that, having conducted a “massive public campaign”, they had no reason to believe that many people did not know about the scheme.

However, over the past week we spoke to many people who, like Marisol, were not able to enroll in the plan. Dilta, a single mother, could not register any of her 10 children as she had no money to pay for the costly documents she needed for all the applications.

Rosana tried to enrol, but she failed. Her parents lacked any form of identification and officers would not accept an application unless she could provide their parents’ identity documents (even if this requirement is not contemplated in any law). Rosa was the only one in her family who did not apply, as she was away during the implementation of the plan and unable to communicate with her family during that time. Jessica simply did not hear about the plan.

In response to a chorus of criticism at national and international level, instead of implementing additional measures to solve these problems, the Dominican authorities have now launched a public campaign and a diplomatic tour to tell the world what they claim is the “real story” of the country’s policies towards migrants and their descendants.

One of the key messages of this campaign is that in the Dominican Republic nobody is stateless. In his speech at a summit of Central- American leaders in Panama on 26 June, the president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, gave a wealth of details and statistics to justify this claim.

However, statistics do not convey the drama of lives being turned upside down. Beyond the numbers, there are real stories of people who have had to leave school, have lost job opportunities and, in the worst cases, been abused, discriminated against and exploited – all because they lack identity documents.

“If I had my documents, I would have finished school and I would be studying psychology at university,” Esterlina told me. “Because of the lack of documents, I had to give my son away as I had no job to feed him,” Mery admitted.

Without identity documents to prove their nationality, people like Marisol, Esterlina and Mery are condemned to being stuck in extreme poverty and have no hope of having or giving their children a better future.

The naturalisation plan set up by the Dominican authorities was meant to mitigate the situation of statelessness in this population. But it is not enough. The Dominican authorities must acknowledge that people like Marisol exist, as their suffering and hopes bear witness. But above all, they must act to end their situation of statelessness and lack of documentation.

Toning down the public relations spin and taking all appropriate measures to ensure that no one is left stateless in the Dominican Republic is the only way to convince the world that their policies have changed lives for the better.

Click HERE for the original article.

Boston Politicians and Leaders Denounce DR Deportations

July 1, 2015 - 12:39

June 30, 2015, Massachusetts Senator Linda Dorcena Forry held a press conference on the State House steps to denounce the potential mass deportations from the Dominican Republic (DR). Senator Forry and several other political and community leaders expressed their disapproval of DR’s handling of the situation and their solidarity with the Haitian and Dominican communities. IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon was also asked to speak, and this article includes a great quote from one of our legal fellows, Wesley Lainé.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Coalition decries ‘humanitarian crisis'; calls for tourism boycott of DR

Charlie Dorf, Boston Haitian Reporter

July 1, 2015

Warning of a worsening humanitarian crisis, Haitian and Dominican community leaders in Boston joined forces with a multi-ethnic coalition of immigration advocates yesterday on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to denounce large-scale deportations of Dominicans of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic. The denationalization situation has been escalating in the Dominican Republuc since 2013, when a constitutional court ruling retroactively eliminated birthright citizenship laws, leaving many Dominicans of Haitian descent, many of whom are second or third generation Dominican, stateless.

Surrounded by colleagues holding signs that read “Stop Humanitarian Crisis in Dominican Republic,” State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry began the press conference with a sharp rebuke of the the Dominican government’s policies and a statement of solidarity with both the Dominican and Haitian people.

“I stand here today with our allies, calling on the government of the Dominican Republic to end the humanitarian crisis which it has created. The prospect of large-volume deportations is troubling, especially given the historic mistreatment of fellow Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. In addition to disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of hardworking people in the Dominican Republic, it is also creating hardship for many more in Haiti, which is not well equipped to handle the influx of refugees along its borders,” said Forry.

Click HERE for the full text.

4-City March To Protest Dominican Republic’s Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Deportation of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian Descent

July 1, 2015 - 12:00

From Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York:

We at HALA-NY are continuing in our fight against the government of the Dominican Republic. We have joined with the Haitian Diaspora in New York and the Haitian American Caucus to march on July 2, 2015, from 14th Street Union Square to the Google Building (76 8th Avenue, between West 15th and West 16th Streets.

Your participation will be appreciated, and we ask that you pass this on to those you know who are concerned about the treatment of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Remember L’union fait la force.

Who: The Haitian Diaspora in New York City & The Haitian American Caucus

What: 4-City March To Protest Dominican Republic’s Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Deportation of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian Descent

When: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 (3pm-6pm)

Where: March from 14th Street Union Square to the Google Building (76 8th Avenue between W15th and W16th

Key Participants: Melky Jean
NAACP Chapters
Mouvman Ayiti Pap Peri (Collegiate Student Assoc. in Haiti)
Haitian American Caucus
Haitian Coalition of Philadelphia
Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia
Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte
Councilman Jumaane Williams
Haitian American Lawyers Association – NY
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated
Alpha Gamma Lambda Chapter “ Harlem Alphas”
Radio Soleil

The Haitian Diaspora and the world is standing in solidarity with the 250,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent who have been stripped of their citizenship and are in danger of being deported. Communities across the country and world are standing against the illegal crimes on humanity and ethnic cleansing that the Dominican Republic is committing. The Haitian community in New York will join the Haitian communities in Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti to bring attention and immediate action to this atrocity by protesting through simultaneous marches in their respective locales.

The international community must not sit idle as the Dominican Republic institutes systems of ethnic cleansing that mirrors Apartheid in South Africa. We will demand that the Dominican Republic reverses the retroactive revocation of citizenship of our people, which mirrors Germany’s Nazi regime. Hundreds will march and speak out against injustice in order to advocate for the marginalized and muted. On Thursday July 2nd, 2015 at 3pm, these cities will stand up for justice and for humanity. The march in New York will commence at 3pm at 14th Street Union Square and end at 6pm at the Google Building located at 76 8th Avenue between W15th & W16th Street

For more information:
Jennings Louis – 617 224 7527
Haitian American Caucus
Jennings.louis1@gmail.com

Sam Pierre- 347 930 7027
Haitian American Caucus
SPierre@hacus.org

Are self-deportations voluntary when people are stateless?

July 1, 2015 - 11:50

As the fear of mass deportations continues to loom, thousands of people are taking their belongings and their family members from the Dominican Republic (DR) to Haiti. DR calls these voluntary self-deportations but IJDH Director Brian Concannon says that crossing the border out of fear of violence and loss of possessions makes these deportations involuntary. Professor Ediberto Roman and a Jesuit group also explain how the DR authorities are spreading misinformation about their regularization plan and what DR is currently doing to help those who are now stateless.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Newly Stateless Flee Their Homes in the Dominican RepublicCitizenship Deadline Triggers Self-Deportations to Haiti, International Outcry

Helena Ball, PanAm Post

July 1, 2015

The Dominican Republic’s Department of Migration announced on Tuesday, June 30, that more than 25,000 people had “voluntarily returned to their country of origin” since June 18, the deadline for its new nationalization plan.

On September 2013, the country’s Constitutional Court affirmed the definition of citizenship as established in the 2010 constitution: the redefined term excludes descendants of migrant workers, even if they were born in the country. The ruling, applied retroactively for almost a century, impacted hundreds of thousands Dominicans of Haitian descent.

As a result of public outcry, the government then passed a special law that allows children of migrants with official identification to remain as citizens and those without documents to apply for a path to nationalization. In addition, the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners was created for those without any documentation to apply for legal status. However, an overwhelming number of applications, combined with procedural irregularities, have left many in stateless limbo.

Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti Brian Concannon told thePanAm Post most people should not be considered “self-deported.” He explained that they are voluntarily crossing the border only out of fear of violent expulsion by the police, and of being separated from all their possessions as the plan’s registration deadline expired.

Click HERE for the full text.

National Day of Action Against DR Deportations

June 30, 2015 - 21:01

We Are All Dominican NYC encourages us all to take action to stop Anti-Haitianism, denationalization and mass deportations in the Dominican Republic.

When: Wednesday July 1, 2015

Where: Worldwide

Here are some resources they provide to help people organize:

National Day of Action Instructions
Fact Sheet About Denationalization in Dominican Republic
Press Release Template
Toolkit to Continue Building After the National Day of Action
Flyer1 Flyer2 Flyer3

 

Read more about this day HERE.

Haiti in crisis after “voluntary deportations” begin

June 30, 2015 - 12:09

Although official deportations of Haitians from the Dominican Republic have yet to begin, more than 14,000 have crossed the border in “voluntary deportations,” according to Haiti president Michel Martelly. With more deportations to follow in August, Haiti is already near its limit of those who can enter the country without presenting major problems.

Part of this segment is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Dominican Deportations Reach Crisis Levels, Haitian President Says

Peter Granitz, NPR

June 29, 2015

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a look at where things stand between the governments of Haiti and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. The DR gave Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent a deadline earlier this month to prove their citizenship or be deported. Haiti says it’s already reached its limit. As Peter Granitz reports from Port-au-Prince, the diplomatic impasse has left many in Haiti confused.

PETER GRANITZ, BYLINE: Haitian President Michel Martelly says his government has taken in more than 14,000 people.

MICHEL MARTELLY: Of course, it’s already a crisis.

GRANITZ: The 14,000 figure cannot be verified, but it’s a number that, according to Martelly, is just about the upper limit of how many people the Haitian government can successfully welcome without major problems.

MARTELLY: We have not been told by the Dominicans how many people are coming. As a matter of fact, they are saying that they haven’t started yet. What we are getting are the people that were just coming to Haiti.

GRANITZ: Martelly says some of the people who are coming to Haiti at this point are doing so voluntarily, and the DR says it has not started formal expulsions. Martelly says its government will welcome its people with dignity and provide them with basic services.

Click HERE for the full article.

UN Says Cholera Cannot Be Eradicated without Proper Sanitation Infrastructure

June 30, 2015 - 11:49

In a recent statement by Pedro Medrano Rojas,  Senior Coordinator for the Response to Cholera in Haiti, he stated that through UN efforts, cholera has been controlled in Haiti. However, without better water and sanitation infrastructure provided by the Haitian government and international donors, cholera cannot be eradicated. According to Rojas, building these sanitation systems will take time and can only take place with “the support of everybody, in particular the international community and Latin American countries.”

Cholera eradication will take ‘some years,’ says outgoing UN coordinator

United Nations News Centre

30 June 2015 – While some 16,000 new cases of cholera have been reported in Haiti so far this year, the disease is now under control but it will not be eradicated unless improving water and sanitation conditions are given a higher priority by both the Government and donors, says the outgoing United Nations official tasked with leading the response to the outbreak.

“And in today’s world, in the 21st century, it’s not acceptable to have this huge number of cases of cholera,” Pedro Medrano Rojas said in an interview with the UN News Service, as he wrapped up his assignment as UN Senior Coordinator for the Response to Cholera in Haiti.

Any country with this number of new cases of cholera would declare it an “emergency,” added Mr. Medrano, who served in the post for two years.

“This is what we are trying to convey to donors and to the international community” so that they will contribute more towards the eradication of the largest epidemic in the Western Hemisphere. Currently, only about 20 per cent of the $2.2 billion needed for the 10-year national plan to eliminate cholera is available.

Mr. Medrano, who has been responsible for strengthening overall coordination among UN entities and mobilizing a coherent and effective response by the international community, recalled that in the 1990s there had been an outbreak of cholera in the Latin American region that started in Peru. It had taken almost 10 years to eliminate cholera at that time.

Comparing the water and sanitation infrastructure in the 20 countries in the region that were affected back then, where over 80 per cent of people had access to water and adequate sanitation, Mr. Medrano noted that “Haiti has a third of that.”

Click HERE for the full article.

Press Conference on Human Rights Violations in Dominican Republic – Boston, MA

June 30, 2015 - 09:00

From Senator Linda Dorcena Forry:

Dear Friend,

As you may already be aware, there is a humanitarian crisis developing in the Dominican Republic.  The current government of the Dominican Republic has recently implemented a series of new naturalization laws specifically aimed at ridding the country of Dominican citizens of Haitian descent.

Massachusetts has always taken a leading role in advocating for human rights around the globe. There is no doubt that these unjustifiable policies effect many of our citizens here.

Therefore, I invite you to attend a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30 at 12pm noon on the front steps of the State House. We will be joined by several immigration advocacy groups, clergy, leaders of the Haitian and Dominican community, as well as federal, state, and local elected officials. We hope you will be able to come and show your support.

What:                   Press Conference on Human Rights Violations in Dominican Republic

Where:                Front Steps of the State House

When:                  Tuesday, June 30

                                12:00PM

If you have any further questions, please contact my office at 617-722-1150.

All the best,

Linda

Senator Linda Dorcena Forry

1st Suffolk District

State House, Rm. 410

Boston, MA 02133

617-722-1150

Amnesty International Asks Dominican Authorities About Deportation Crisis

June 29, 2015 - 07:44

Though the Dominican Republic (DR) issued a naturalization plan, Law 169-14, for people born to foreign parents, many failed to register. The documents needed are often difficult to acquire and now that the deadline has passed, many fear that people who met the naturalization requirements are still at high risk of deportation. Amnesty International spoke with some Dominican authorities to get more information on the Law and how DR plans to help those who couldn’t register. Amnesty also suggests ways DR can protect the children of undocumented immigrants and prevent future mass deportations.

Part of the report is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Amnesty International ends visit to the Dominican Republic: further actions needed to protect Dominicans of foreign descent

Amnesty International

June 29, 2015

Amnesty International carried out a visit in the Dominican Republic from 14 to 27
June 2015, with the aim of assessing the situation of people who were deprived of
their Dominican nationality by the ruling 168-13 of the Constitutional Court. The
visit also aimed at advocating with the Dominican authorities to avoid the
expulsions of those people and other human rights violations.
Amnesty International thanks the Dominican authorities for their availability to
meet with the organization’s delegates, to provide information and to engage in a
constructive dialogue.
Amnesty International has documented for years the human rights violations
occurring in the Dominican Republic as a consequence of the deprivation of
identity documents that has left thousands of people in a legal limbo affecting
their lives in multiple ways and preventing them to exercise their human rights.
Amnesty International acknowledges that Law 169-14 has sought to provide for a
solution to a number of Dominican-born people of Haitian descent who had been
denied for years of their identity documents, including those made stateless by
the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Over 17,000 Migrants “Voluntarily” Leave Dominican Republic

June 27, 2015 - 06:21

According to Dominican authorities, over 17,000 undocumented Haitians have left the Dominican Republic (DR) for Haiti since June 17th. Right now, the DR government says it will help those who want to leave voluntarily but promises to begin deportations after this phase is over. This is despite outcry from the human rights community ever since DR announced deportations for those who failed to meet a June 17th registration deadline. Many also fear that those who simply “look Haitian” will be swept up in the deportations, regardless of their legal status.

Dominican Republic says 17,000 Haitians return voluntarily

AFP, Yahoo News

June 27, 2015

Santo Domingo (AFP) – More than 17,000 undocumented Haitians have voluntarily left the Dominican Republic since the end of a controversial registration process that left thousands of people facing deportation, officials said Friday.

The Dominican Republic gave undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom are from impoverished Haiti, until June 17 to register with the authorities or face deportation.

But with documents slow to arrive from Haiti and Dominican registration offices overwhelmed by the crowds of applicants, more than 180,000 people were still unregistered by the deadline, according to the Dominican government.

Of those, 17,456 have so far left for Haiti voluntarily, said the director general of the Dominican immigration authority, Ruben Paulino.

More than 800 of them left on buses provided by the Dominican government, he added.

“We will be incentivizing the voluntary exit and return of all, right up to the last minute. When that phase is finished, we will begin non-voluntary returns,” said presidential aide Jose Ramon Peralta.

Immigration officials have promised not to carry out mass deportations and say each case will be considered individually.

As of the registration deadline, more than 450,000 Haitians were estimated to live in the neighboring Dominican Republic — 90 percent of its immigrants and 5.4 percent of the total population.

Just one in 10 had legal status.

A border crossing between Ouanaminthe and Dajabon was closed on the Haitian side for part of the day Friday, according to the Haitian government spokesman.

Haiti and its neighbor share four official border posts.

– ‘Subterfuge’ –

The process drew international warnings that it could provoke a new humanitarian disaster in fragile Haiti, still struggling to recover from its 2010 earthquake and a subsequent cholera outbreak.

It was also criticized for leaving the Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrants effectively stateless and facing deportation to a country many of them have never known.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Evans Paul on Thursday slammed the deportation policy as discriminatory.

“The problem is that the Dominicans are using what I call subterfuge to mix nationality and race,” he told AFP.

“This is all to say anyone who is black is assumed to be Haitian, even if they were born in the Dominican Republic.”

Dominican President Danilo Medina rejected criticism of the program as discriminatory, saying it was in fact designed to benefit thousands of Haitians.

“We’re not going to accept false accusations of racism or xenophobia, which are baseless in a country that has been defined for centuries by the blending of cultures,” he said on the sidelines of a summit in Guatemala.

Relations are often strained between Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and the Dominican Republic, the comparatively wealthy neighbor with which it shares the island of Hispaniola.

Haitian immigrants have long been targets of resentment and racism in the Dominican Republic, which boiled over into the massacre of thousands of them in 1937 under the orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Click HERE for the original article.

Hundreds in Miami Protest Mass Deportations from DR

June 26, 2015 - 13:06
The Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc. (FLIC) and several other human rights organizations and activists organized a demonstration against potential mass deportations from the Dominican Republic (DR). In recent weeks, there has been an outcry from the human rights community against DR’s decision to begin deporting those who didn’t meet an arbitrary registration deadline. So far, the international community has been silent.For Immediate Release: Friday, June 26th, 2015

Media Contacts: Elizabeth Taveras,  (305) 721-9661, elizabeth@floridaimmigrant.org

Natalia Jaramillo,  (305) 571-7254natalia@floridaimmigrant.orgHundreds marched in Miami to stop the mass deportations of Dominican-Haitians in the Dominican Republic
Groups and community members demand that the Dominican Government stop the mass deportations of Dominican-Haitians

NOTE: Photos attached to link below.

Miami, FL – Hundreds of Miamians and organizations came together from the Dominican Consulate to the Haiti Consulate in Brickell and demanded that the Dominican government stop the mass deportations of Dominican of Haitian Descent. The organizations that worked tirelessly to organize this event included:  FANM/Haitian Women of Miami, Haitian League for Human Rights, Veye Yo, Florida Immigrant  Coalition, Unite Here, SEIU 1199, Haitian-America n Grassroots Coalition, Haitian Lawyers Association,  Power U, South Florida Progressive Jewish Action.

Over 250,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent could be stateless and deported back to a country many have never known. As this horrific moment in our history continues to unfold the international community has remained completely silent on the inhumane treatments of blacks in the Dominican Republic.

As a Haitian-Dominic an-American, I am completely ashamed of Dominicans on the island and the Diaspora who want to continue to deny their ancestral African roots and condone the actions of their government”, said Francesca Menes, Advocacy and Policy Coordinator of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Hundreds of individuals and organizations marched yesterday in solidarity with the Dominicans and Haitians that are facing mass deportations, demanding that the Dominican Government stop the mass deportations of Dominican-Haitians that currently have residency in the Dominican Republic, many of whom were born in the Dominican Republic.“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the solidarity among Haitians, Dominicans, Hondurans, Jamaicans and so many other nationalities and races standing together denouncing the actions of the Dominican government and its inhumane treatment of blacks in the DR,” Menes concluded.

Hundreds of organizations that have signed on to an Open Letter to Dominican Republic President  http://bit.ly/HaitianLivesMatterCheck out photos from the event here: http://bit.ly/MiamiMarchPhotos

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Massachusetts Senator Forry Speaks Out Against DR Deportations

June 25, 2015 - 16:31

The Dominican Republic recently announced a decision to begin deporting those of foreign ancestry who failed to meet a June 17th registration deadline. While the international human rights community has been speaking out about this decision, international governments have yet to respond. Massachusetts Senator Linda Dorcena Forry adds her voice to the growing cry for justice and solidarity with those facing deportation.

Part of the statement is below. Click HERE for the pdf.

June 25, 2015

Senator Forry Statement on Human Rights Violations in the Dominican Republic

“I am deeply disappointed and dismayed that the government of the Dominican Republic is once again pursuing the large-scale expulsion of people of Haitian descent.

The prospect of large-volume deportations is troubling given the historic mistreatment of fellow Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. In addition to disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working people in the Dominican Republic, it could create hardship for many more in Haiti, which is not well-equipped to handle the influx of a large volume of people along its border. The potential for a humanitarian crisis is real and a responsible, compassionate government would pause and choose another course.

That is precisely what I call on the leaders of the Dominican Republic to do. The Dominican Republic should revers course in its policy and make a clear statement that it will not single out Dominicans of Haitian descent for this sort of treatment.

It is time for us to send a collective and clear message that we expect the DR to treat its citizens with respect. The people of the Haitian diaspora here in the United States — and our allies — can and should take immediate action:

Click HERE for the full text.

UN Whistleblowers Face Repercussions for Speaking Out

June 25, 2015 - 14:23

UN whistleblowers, who speak out about injustices occurring in the organization or under its auspices, too often face repercussions for taking a stand against their employer. Because of the UN’s vast legal immunities, staff must file complaints through a lengthy, expensive, and often biased internal process. This structure for UN staff members follows the similar appeals mechanism for the Haitian cholera victims and sexual assault survivors seeking redress from the UN. Despite the UN’s stated commitments to human rights and justice, whistleblowers and victims often refrain from speaking out for fear of backlash, as highlighted in the following article.

Click HERE for the full article.

How The UN Fails Whistleblowers – OpEd

David Kaye, eurasiareview

June 25, 2015

This is a letter from the UN Whistleblower Coalition to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, who will be presenting a report on protection of sources and whistleblowers to the UN General Assembly in October.

Over the past decade the United Nations and its specialized agencies have established new whistleblower policies. Unfortunately, implementation is weak in many of the UN agencies and the policies themselves may lag behind best practice standards. In practice, it is our experience that the policies afford little meaningful protection for whistleblowers.

As the case summaries below demonstrate, retaliation against whistleblowers can affect the entire UN system. Some UN whistleblowers have been fired or demoted; others have been subjected to more subtle forms of abuse like non-renewal of contracts or sudden transfer to distant duty stations; many face plain, simple harassment and intimidation. UN whistleblowers may also have their visas revoked or be required to flee the country where they are living and working as a result of the retaliation. Consequently, we can assert that fear of reporting wrongdoing is common.

Click HERE for the full article.

Press Conference on pending deportations from the Dominican Republic

June 25, 2015 - 14:07

NEW YORK STATE SENATE
OFFICE OF SENATOR JESSE HAMILTON
20th District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Brooklyn, NY – June 25, 2015

CONTACT:
Ean Fullerton
(718) 284-4700
(347) 770-5054
senatorhamiltoncoms@gmail.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

Senator Jesse Hamilton, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams,
Council Member Mathieu Eugene, and Council Member Laurie Cumbo
to Hold Press Conference on Dominican Republic Deportations
on Friday, June 26th at 12:00 pm, Steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall

Press Conference: Standing in solidarity with people of Haitian descent
threatened by mass deportation from the Dominican Republic

WHO:
NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
NYC Council Member Mathieu Eugene
NYC Council Member Laurie Cumbo

WHAT:
Press Conference on pending deportations from the Dominican Republic

WHEN:
Friday, June 26 at 12:00 pm

WHERE:
Steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Brooklyn, NY – Senator Hamilton, BP Adams, CM Eugene, and CM Cumbo to hold press conference on Friday, June 26 at 12:00 pm on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall Standing in solidarity with people of Haitian descent threatened by mass deportation from the Dominican Republic.

Please read our Op-Ed: Human Rights For All

Senator Jesse Hamilton has spent his entire career helping people, including over 15 years as President of the School Board and District Leader. He is a husband, father, and public servant delivering and fighting for one of the most diverse Senate districts in New York State.

New Media Advocacy Project Hiring Assoc. Director of Development

June 25, 2015 - 07:14

New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map) seeks an experienced and ambitious development professional to help take their organization to the next level of growth. The Associate Director of Development will report to the Executive Director and leadership team to advance all aspects of N-Map’s fundraising and development work, including individual major gifts, foundation grants, and business development initiatives for client projects. The Associate Director of Development will develop and help to implement an ambitious and diversified fundraising strategy and build internal systems to maximize N-Map’s ability to pursue multiple avenues of development with a lean staff.

Please send a resume and statement of interest as one attachment to Meryl Friedman at jobs@newmediaadvocacy.org with the subject line “Associate Director of Development.”

Click HERE for the full job posting.

Dominican-Haitian Crisis: Beyond the Surface

June 24, 2015 - 15:00

WHAT: Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Edilbert Román join panel with the Miami Workers Center and the Florida Immigrant Coalition to discuss Mass Deportation of Dominican-Haitians from the Dominican Republic

WHERE: Miami Workers Center 745 NW 54TH ST., MIAMI, FL 33127

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24th from 6 to 8:00pm

Miami, FL – Joining Miami Workers Center and Florida Immigrant Coalition, will be Dominican writer Junot Díaz, Haitian-American Writer, Edwidge Danticat, Florida International University Law Professor, Edilberto Roman, to divulge in the background, roots, and implications of the ‘ethnic cleanse’ happening in the Dominican Republic.As the media continues to produce little and unrealistic details about what is transpiring in the Dominican Republic, the panelists hope to shed a light on the more pressing concerns around the economic, racial, and the reality of its effects on the Dominican-Haitian population.

From this perspective, the Miami Workers Center has created this political education forum to provide space to discuss the intentional and oppressive issues, which have not have not been considered or presented via mass media. We understand we cannot advance our mission without taking into consideration the impact of global policies in defining social, political, and economic conditions within the United States. Through the forum and subsequent events, we seek to support the plight of Haitians and Dominican-Haitians that are currently experiencing the violation of their basic human rights

As a Dominican living in the United States, I urge the international community to take a strong stand against the abusive and unfair treatment of Dominicans of Haitians decent in the Dominican Republic and against the reactionary laws used by the Dominican government and the Dominican elite to justify such atrocities, ” says Marcia Olivo, Director of Programs at the Miami Workers Center.

There will also be discussion on the correlation to the Black Lives Matter Movement and how women and children will be disproportionately affected by the deportation. Women and children will continue to be the main victims of the systemic violence being struck on the Haitian community in the Dominican Republic.

 

Click HERE to join the Facebook event.

Famous Authors Speak Out Against DR Deportations

June 24, 2015 - 13:29

Human rights activist worldwide are uniting to denounce the Dominican Republic’s latest decision to begin deporting people of Haitian descent. Among them are famous Haitian author Edwidge Danticat and famous Dominican author Junot Diaz. At a recent event, the two spoke out about the racism that underlies this decision and the precarious situation of people living in fear of deportation.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Authors Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat decry Dominican efforts to remove Haitians

Jeffrey Pierre, Miami Herald

June 24, 2015

Junot Díaz, the Pulitizer Prize-winning author, just returned from his native Dominican Republic this week.

“There’s a state of terror,’’ in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, referring to the country’s humanitarian crisis, with the Dominican government threatening to deport hundreds of thousands of people — Dominicans of Haitian descent and undocumented immigrants from Haiti.

Díaz spoke Wednesday night at a panel discussion in Miami protesting the Dominican government’s actions, which called for a deadline last Wednesday for thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent to register to stay in the country.

Among those speaking out against the country’s actions at Wednesday’s panel: Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat.

“If you’re not concerned you should be,” said Danticat, who has won numerous awards for her novels and memoir, Brother, I’m Dying. “Especially when we live in a town were most of us came from somewhere else.”

“A lot of people are in hiding and are afraid to go out since the deadline passed,” Danticat said.

Click HERE for the full text.

Les partis politiques d’Haïti doivent s’unir pour trouver une solution aux déportations

June 24, 2015 - 12:22

Depuis la naissance de la crise dans les relations entre Haïti et la République Dominicaine, les hommes et femmes politiques Haïtiens ont utilisé les déportations pour leurs avancements personnels. Cependant, pour trouver une solution à la crise et rétablir les relations haïtiano-dominicaines, il faut que les partis politiques d’Haïti s’unissent.

Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte original.

Déportations : des politiques accusent le pouvoir et proposent

Robenson Geffrard, Le Nouvelliste

Dans tous les cas de figure, les hommes et les femmes politiques du pays ne ratent jamais une occasion pour rendre le gouvernement responsable du comportement des Dominicains envers nos compatriotes en territoire voisin. Pour Samuel Madistin, candidat à la présidence sous la bannière du MOPOD, la vague de déportations est condamnable et totalement inacceptable. « Un acte qui défie toutes les règles de civilité qui doivent exister entre deux nations sœurs est un acte inamical rendu possible en raison de la faiblesse de notre État. Elle va aussi à l’encontre de tous les accords et conventions internationaux de respect des droits humains que les deux pays ont signés et jurés de respecter. »

« Nous comprenons bien qu’un pays souverain puisse vouloir contrôler les composantes et variantes de sa population mais en respectant les règles et principes éthiques de savoir-faire et de savoir-vivre qui sous-tendent ce monde que l’on voudrait global aujourd’hui », a avancé Me Samuel Madistin au cours d’une conférence de presse.