Haiti has called for the intervention of the international community Wednesday to speed up the regularization of hundreds of thousands of undocumented Haitian-Dominicans facing deportation in the Dominican Republic.
In an address to the Organization of American States, Haiti’s Foreign Minister Lener Renauld urged the Dominican Republic to treat its Haitian descendants more humanely and bring an end to the humanitarian crisis.
"Haiti comes to the Americas to urge the Dominican Republic to come to its senses. Haiti does not come to ask for mercy, it comes to protest the treatment of its nationals in the Dominican Republic,” Renauld said according to news agency Al Momento.
Haiti’s protest at the OAS comes as the interregional forum announced it will send a special mission to the Dominican Republic and Haiti between July 10-14 in the face of the migration crisis there.
The mission has as aim to facilitate a “long-term solution that regularizes the legal state of immigrants.” Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS , affirmed that “we cannot forget that immigrants, beyond their legal situation, have the same rights as everyone else.”
The Dominican ambassador to the OAS rebuked criticism from the international community and accused Haiti for not assuming responsibility for taking in Haitian descendants.
“Neither can we accept the cynicism of nations that pretend to denounce with hyperbole and exaggeration what they are accustomed to do to immigrants in their own territories,” ambassador Pedro Vergés said.
The migration crisis comes after the Dominican Republic stripped an estimated 200,000 Dominican-Haitians of citizenship in order to deport them on a mass scale. The Dominican government claimed it opened up ways for the now-undocumented Dominican Haitians to gain legal status but media reports claim that only two percent received their papers legalized.
According to Local 10 News, Haitians and their descendants have been herded up like cattle and kicked out of their homes in the Dominican Republic. “They got us like dogs, they threw in the bus, and they started to slap us Haitians,” the local news agency quoted one Haitian as saying.
The government of the Dominican Republic has characterized the transfer of Haitian migrants and Haitian-Dominicans as “voluntary repatriations.”
However, the Caribbean nations of the regional bloc CARICOM have vocally criticized the Dominican Republic’s policies, which many believe could trigger a humanitarian crisis.
“If indeed these persons are Haitians who have been voluntarily self-deporting en masse, then it is because of the climate of violence and fear which has been generated in the Dominican Republic,” Omari Seitu Williams, the deputy head of mission from the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said.
“Unlike some countries that have remained mute on this issue, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines cannot and will not remain silent on this issue which violates the basic tenets of human rights. This is simply not a bilateral issue or an issue of a sovereign nation. It is indeed a matter of human dignity and the egregiousness of the Dominican laws is reflected in the justifiable international outrage and response the laws.”