Dominican Republic officially resumes deportations amid concerns for Dominicans of Haitian descent
Santo Domingo.- AmnestyInternational urges the Dominican Republic to ensure that no person born in theDominican Republic will be deported from the country, after the governmentauthorities announced on 14 August the resumption of operations to detain anddeport “foreigners who resides illegally in the country”.
The deportationsbegan after a 18-month official moratorium set in place by the government.
Since the end of aregularization plan for migrants on 17 June, the Dominican authorities havebeen reporting that tens of thousands of Haitians have voluntarily returned toHaiti.
Yet, thousands ofpeople claim to have been forcibly deported. On 14 August the InternationalOrganization for Migration (IOM) reported that 32% of the 6,311 people interviewedat the Dominican-Haitian border between 17 June and 13 August “claimed to havebeen deported into Haitian territory” by Dominican officials.
Over 27% of all thoseinterviewed by IOM said they were born in the Dominican Republic, and 3,8% ofthe total declared possessing a Dominican identity document.
The Dominican state,like any other state, has the sovereign power to regulate the entrance andpresence of foreign nationals, but it must do so with respect of international lawand standards. International law prohibits the expulsion of a country’s ownnationals.
At the end of June,government officials told Amnesty International repeatedly that deportationswould be carried out with respect for human rights and that none born in the countrywould be expelled.
While AmnestyInternational welcomed those statements, it is concerned that the Dominicanauthorities have not yet disclosed concrete protocols that would guarantee the fullrespect of human rights during deportation processes, and particularly that Dominicansof Haitian descent will not be expelled from their country.
It is thereforeimperative that the Dominican Republic establishes and makes public clear protocolsthat would ensure that people who are entitled to the Dominican nationality arenot deported from the country.
Measures should alsobe set in place to ensure that, if for any reason people entitled to theDominican nationality are deported, they are allowed immediate andunconditional return to the Dominican Republic.
Dominicans of Haitiandescent continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups of the Dominicansociety. Their situation was aggravated in September 2013 when a constitutionaljudgment retroactively deprived them of their Dominican nationality.
In May 2014 PresidentDanilo Medina presented Law 169-14 to the Congress which sought to mitigate theeffect of the ruling and create mechanisms to eventually restore the Dominicannationality to those affected.
Amnesty Internationalwas able to confirm that, while a large number of Dominicans of Haitian descenthave obtained their documents or should be able to, many were not able torecover their Dominican nationality despite the efforts promoted by theDominican government. In cases where they do not hold another nationality,these persons are stateless and remain seriously at risk of arbitrary expulsionto Haiti.