Last week the Dominican government announced it is temporarily halting the planned deportations of thousands of Domincio-Haitians. On Friday the Organization of American States (OAS) travelled to the island where they assessed the current Dominican Republic situation, and met with Haitian and Dominican government leaders on the controversial deportation plan.
“We welcome the news of the Dominican Republic’s temporary halt,” the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a human rights agency, said in a statement.
“We are at least encouraged that the mission is at the invitation of leaders of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic,” said UUSC President and CEO Rev. William Schulz. “The situation represents both a human and civil rights crisis that has targeted people of all ages, including unaccompanied children and the elderly.
“Dominicans of Haitian descent — many of whom only speak Spanish — have fallen under the net of being stateless, homeless and subject to being tossed over the border into Haiti with no support on either side of the line,” said Schulz. “We trust that the OAS mission will help both countries reach a humane solution.”
The looming crisis is the result of a 2013 ruling by the Dominican Republic’s highest court that retroactively revoked the citizenship of children of Haitian migrants born after 1929 — which perforce applies onward to those migrants’ children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. There are as many as 200,000 children of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic who now are at risk of deportation to Haiti, many of whom may be unaccompanied.