Haiti before the OAS: canal is below other water intakes already exploited by the Dominican Republic
Haiti.- In a recent statement, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Haiti to the Organization of American States (OAS) has expressed its openness to engage in dialogue, responding to calls from various commissions and countries regarding the ongoing conflict with the Dominican Republic over the construction of a canal on the Massacre River.
Haiti, through its statement, reaffirms its right to utilize the waters of the Massacre River, emphasizing that these waters are considered border waters. Furthermore, it asserts that the construction of the canal is situated downstream of approximately twelve water intakes already constructed and operated by the Dominican Republic. The statement also clarifies that the dimensions of the canal and its water intake are not substantial enough to divert the Massacre River from its natural, smaller channel.
The full statement is as follows:
PUBLIC REPUBLIC OF HAITI
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND WORSHIP
The Republic of Haiti warmly welcomes all calls for dialogue from partner states and international institutions regarding the ongoing dispute with the Dominican Republic concerning the shared water resources of the Masacre River. We have taken careful note of the elements presented in the statement issued by the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States on September 27, 2023. This statement particularly underscores the inalienable right of both parties to use the river in a just and equitable manner for their agricultural and industrial needs, as outlined in Article 10 of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Arbitration of February 20, 1929.
To gain a better understanding of the situation, it is important to consider the following facts:
1. The Massacre River serves as a border waterway, with tributaries originating in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Therefore, Haitian territory contributes to the generation of mobilizable flows in the upstream sections of this shared river.
2. Downstream of the Ouanaminthe-Dajabon axis, the riverbed is no longer entrenched, causing elevated waters to overflow their banks and flood the surrounding plains on both sides of the border. Consequently, the low-lying plain of Maribaroux is naturally and regularly inundated by the Massacre River’s floods.
3. The canal under construction in Ouanaminthe will be supplied by an intake located along the riverbank. This will be the first intake structure constructed by the Haitian side on this shared waterway. Importantly, it is situated below approximately twelve water intakes that have already been constructed and utilized by the Dominican Republic. Additionally, the dimensions of the canal and its water intake are not substantial enough to divert the Massacre River from its smaller, natural channel.
Considering these facts and considerations, it is evident that our right to access and equitably distribute this resource is well-founded.
In light of the above, the Republic of Haiti reasserts the sovereign right of the Haitian people to the fair and equitable utilization of the shared water resources of the Massacre River. Furthermore, Haiti remains committed to continuing the dialogue with its neighboring country, as exemplified by the note dated September 15, 2023, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic.