The Dominican Republic continues the disturbing pattern of mass expulsions and arbitrary detentions of Haitian and Haitian descended Dominicans, including the illegal separation of infants and children from their families.
Originally published in Socialist Movement of Workers of the Dominican Republic.
The Voice of the Workers
The Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR) of Haiti denounced in a statement on January 19 that agents of the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) detained a couple of Haitian citizens, leaving them abandoned in a home in Puerto Escondido, in Independencia province, to their three young children, 8 years, 3 years, and 3 months old, respectively. The arrest would have occurred on Tuesday, January 16, while the parents were on their way to work. "Their phones were confiscated and since then they have had no news of the children," the GARR reported. The regulations of Migration Law 285-04 prohibit the detention of pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants, as well as the separation of infants from their families, but these illegal practices have been systematic by the regime headed by President Abinader, such as part of the mass expulsions carried out since 2021, including the arbitrary detention of hundreds of pregnant women. Extortion and theft of cell phones and money from Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent by immigration, police and military agents are also frequent.
The Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) confirmed the fact through a social network on January 21. "About the case they refer to... our Municipal Office in Jimaní established contact with local authorities and confirmed that the children are currently under the care and protection of a community support network," the institution stated, claiming that they will support "the reunification family with their parents. At the end of 2022, the DGM denied that it separated infants from their families, after UNICEF counted that year more than 1,800 cases of infants expelled to Haiti without the company of family members. Although the government tries to deny it, human rights violations are systematic and are part of an official policy that seeks to electorally capitalize on racism and xenophobia. Faced with persistent demands from social and political organizations, for years, the Attorney General's Office has refused to bring to justice repressive agents who commit crimes in the context of immigration interdiction operations, perpetuating impunity.
GARR denounced that in 2023 more than 250 thousand Haitian people were deported by the Dominican State. According to the director of the National Migration Institute, the Haitian immigrant population is estimated at 700 thousand people . It is a working community, frequently super-exploited by the business community that depends on that workforce, which is why the racist and illegal policy of mass expulsions has impacted the construction industry , agriculture and other economic sectors. On the night of January 18, the GARR received more than one hundred people at its reception center in Belladere, including construction workers in their uniforms and work tools, nursing women and children. GARR warned that the Dominican State would be violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international pacts and conventions that protect migrants. According to the GARR, a nursing mother with a 4-month-old baby said that her home was illegally raided at 4 in the morning and she was detained with her husband and baby for two days in terrible hygienic conditions in the detention center of Haina. The organization demanded that the Haitian authorities demand that their Dominican counterparts comply with the repatriation protocol and that the Dominican authorities treat Haitian migrants with respect and dignity. Similar calls in the past, such as the one made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, in 2022, have been violently rejected by the Dominican government.
In January 2024, the Human Rights Watch organization published its global report, in which it found that immigration detentions in the Dominican Republic are carried out using racial profiling, detaining people "solely because of the color of their skin" and that they are regularly kept "in cages on trucks waiting to be processed, in stifling heat and with little or no access to food or water." The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that around 94% of the repatriations of Haitian migrants between January and August 2023 were carried out by the Dominican State.
Socialist Movement of the Workers of the Dominican Republic - "We are a Dominican socialist organization that bets on the self-organization of the working class and its mobilization for the conquest of rights and the dispute of political power. We understand that the unity of workers is forged in the struggle against exploitation, racist and patriarchal oppression and against all forms of discrimination that we suffer in our country and the world. Faced with the irrational depredation of nature, we fight for a democratic planning that allows the environmental sustainability of the economy, the only alternative to the prospect of climate collapse to which the capitalist system leads us."