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CARICOM Wants Ground Monitoring System to Stop Potential Dominican Republic Abuse of Haitian Immigrants

Irwin-LaRocque-1The Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, will ask the United Nations to install a ground monitoring system to ensure the Dominican Republic does not violate human rights during the process of repatriating people of Haitian descent, an official told EFE via phone on Wednesday.

The CARICOM official said that organization’s secretary-general, Irwin LaRocque, and Haitian Foreign Minister Lener Renaud agreed during a meeting this week that the international community must intervene to ensure immigrants’ rights are not abused.

Though no specific details were provided on this request, the official said this initiative follows on the heels of an agreement by the heads of government of the 15-member CARICOM.

The Dominican Republic is not a member of CARICOM although it has applied for membership. Haiti is one of the 15 members along with Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During CARICOM’s annual summit in early July, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of respect for human rights and human dignity.

“I have discussed this with the president of the Dominican Republic and trust there will be further progress in resolving this matter, protecting the rights of affected persons, and preventing the loss of nationality,” Ban said at the opening ceremony.

Many people born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents faced immense obstacles when trying to obtain the right documentation to register for the National Regularization Plan and only around 240,000 applications were received ahead of a June 17 deadline.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion.

Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do such as harvesting sugarcane.

Haitians have been the target of mob violence on many occasions in recent years and the Dominican government has been widely criticized for its treatment of the migrants.


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