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Dominican Republic: Hundreds of thousands of Haitians threatened with expulsion

Fears of a humanitarian catastrophe

We are on the verge of a humanitarian and human rights disaster in the Dominican Republic. Two years ago, the Dominican Supreme Court provoked an international outcry by questioning the legal status of more than 200.000 ethnic Haitians born in that country to undocumented parents as far back as 1929. Although people affected were given the chance to regularize their situation, many were unable to fulfil the necessary procedures.

The deadline for regularization has now passed, and the Dominican Republic is threatening to expel more than 200,000 Haitian migrant workers, and tens of thousands more people of Haitian ancestry, including children born in the Dominican Republic, to Haiti, a country which many of them have never seen. They call the Dominican Republic home, and many have lived their entire lives as Spanish-speaking Dominicans. Haiti is a foreign country, and Creole, its predominant language, often a foreign tongue as well. Haiti is already struggling, and caring for so many expelled people may prove to be an impossible challenge, leading to humanitarian crisis along the border. Most of those expelled will face a future of homelessness and unemployment in Haiti: contributing to that country's existing poverty and food shortage. The situation is dire and the United Nations has declared that expulsions risk violating international law and the country’s own constitution.

Malteser International has  been working alongside the Comisión de Trabajo Ecuménico Dominicano (COTEDO) in Belle-Anse, Haiti, since 2010: helping locals to achieve food security. They are monitoring the situation, and rapid assistance could be provided, if needed, from their project location near the border between the two countries.


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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