Haitians are preparing for an influx of deportees from the Dominican Republic. That’s what we learned during our recent site visit to Haiti from some of the organizations we met with like the Limonad Women’s Association for Development of Agriculture and Artisanal Production (AFLIDEPA), who were preparing to welcome and do what they can to support them..
The Dominican Republic has a long history of racism against Haitians. The most horrific example is of dictator Trujillo’s genocidal massacre in 1937 of up to 30,000 Haitians in what is called in English, the Parsley Massacre. Today the Dominican Republic under rightwing leadership has stripped three generations of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their Dominican citizenship.
The expulsion of Haitian workers living in the Dominican Republic may be imminent and Dominicans of Haitian descent will likely be swept up in these expulsions. For Dominicans of Haitian descent, deportation will mean that they are sent to a land where they are not citizens, where they do not necessarily know anyone, and where they probably don’t speak the language. This is a crisis of statelessness that needs urgent attention and public outcry.
Like AFLIDEPA, human rights observers from neighborhoods throughout Mirabalais in the Central Plateau reported to us that they’ve already been seeing multiple deportees every day and providing them with food and clothing out of their own pockets.
If these expulsions come to pass, the burden on Haiti may prove overwhelming. For a nation still recovering from the earthquake in 2010, a massive influx of deportees could lead to a new round of tent camps. (There are still people living in deplorable conditions in tent camps since the earthquake five years ago.)
As usual in Haiti, in times of crisis Haitians step up to the plate to help each other, and in this case, help Dominicans from across the border.
Photo: Human rights defenders from neighborhoods throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau discuss human rights violations in the area, and their efforts to support deportees from the Dominican Republic. They are trained members of the Haitian Human Rights Platform (POHDH), a Grassroots International partner.