Local July 6, 2015 | 8:38 am

Human Rights Watch slams Dominican Republic reporters’ ‘ambush’

Santo Domingo.- “An extremely unfortunate situation, it was an effort to accost, intimidate those who work with human rights. Once I arrived at the airport and went to the controls, a person from Immigration took my passport, I was told that there was a problem, that they have superior orders to check because your name is on a list of persons with a travel ban.”

Jose Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch director for Latin America narrated the incident that occurred in Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport on Friday, as he was about to return to Washington, just hours after Dominican journalists staged an “ambush” during a press conference to disclose the results of a study on the government’s program to legalize foreigners, but which the entity affirms that thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent have been stripped of a nationality and become “stateless” people.

“You’ll have to wait until we contact the office in Santo Domingo,” Vivanco was told, and affirmed that the harassment “was ordered from someone with more power, probably from Santo Domingo.

“It was reprisal for our findings of injustice to thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. This probably unsettled the officials of the government. I obtained help from the great journalist Juan Bolivar Diaz to get someone on line to resolve the situation,” said the Human Rights Watch official. Around 7 am I had my passport. But the lesson was already taught. It was an abuse of power.”

“It seemed to be that the journalists, not all, tried to sequester the press conference. They seemed to be government officials, on its payroll. They tried to prevent the press conference. I believe (the incident) damages the profession,” he said.

This wasn’t journalism, it was a sort of ambush, to distort the message, some reporters came to me and apologized for the incident,” added Vivanco, interviewed by journalist Marino Zapete on Color Vision channel 19.

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