By Dady Chery
According to a report by GARR (Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Refugiés / Support Group for Repatriated and Refugees), between January and December 2011 Dominican authorities repatriated 15,189 Haitians, including 1,923 women and 95 children. This was more than double the number repatriated in 2010.
According to Solidarity Fwontalyè Ouanaminthe and GARR, the breakdown was:
- Over 9,000 at the Belladere border in the Central Plateau;
- 5,428 at the Ouanaminthe-Dajabon border, in the northeast;
- 95 at the Malpasse border in the west.
Individual interviews by GARR uncovered a pattern of sudden removals that resulted in the loss, and possible theft, of wages and property.
One man called Robertson, who is a mason, complained:
“I lived here for over 10 years. The Dominican immigration officers did not even allow us to retrieve our belongings before they forced us to leave the country.”
Another pair of individuals, Harry and Magdala, said:
“We were on our way to work. Immigration officers signaled to us to stop and led us the same day to the border without giving us time to alert our loved ones.”
One man called Carnes explained:
“I came home from my job after 6 pm when Dominicans soldiers arrested me and took me on the spot to the Belladere border.”
“We are left to ourselves out here.
said a group of returnees.
This is why we are so often repatriated under such horrible conditions.”
According to GARR, a Memorandum of Agreement on Repatriation Mechanisms has been signed by the Haitian and Dominican governments. This agreement forbids the removal of returnees at night and requires that they be permitted to retrieve their belongings.
Santiago Bishop Ramon de la Rosa y Carpio reminded his countrymen:
“We would not accept it if undocumented Dominicans were abused in the United States in violation of the law.”
Source: Haiti Chery
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