The Dominican Republic deported 691 people into Haiti at the border town of Belladere in the Central Plateau department from Sept. 4 to Sept. 30, according to the local Human Rights Committee, which is part of the Jeannot Succes Border Network. Witnesses say the deportees were imprisoned for two to five days before their repatriation.
Although figures were not yet available for other border areas, the Belladere report indicates that the Dominican Republic hasn’t let up on its policy of removing Haitian immigrants; it deported 65,000 people to Haiti between September 2004 and June 2008. At the end of September Major Gen. Jose Anibal Sanz Jiminian, head of the Dominican migration bureau, announced plans to deport Haitian street vendors, especially the ones selling telephone cards. “We will take action against these foreigners who live here illegally, and the products in their possession will be confiscated,” he said.
The new deportations came as Haiti was struggling to recover after being hit by four major tropical storms in one month. As of Sept. 11 the Dominican government had sent food, medicine, a medical team and three helicopters; the emergency assistance was valued at $565,000. The Dominican ambassador to Haiti said the aid was “testimony to the Dominican Republic’s recognition of the courageous people of Haiti, who should always maintain their pride.” (AlterPresse, Oct. 7)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 12, 2008