Dominican Republic: Haitians face abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities.

On 26 November Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Dominican Republic, along with a number of other refugee, immigrant and human rights associations, condemned the authorities of the Dominican Republic for the continued abuses of Haitian immigrants and refugees living in the Republic. The most serious of the accusations is the forced and indiscriminate repatriations of Haitians in violation of national and international law.

The homes of Haitians are raided at all hours of the night, they are subjected to violence and demands for large sums of money. Their residency papers are confiscated in order to justify their expulsion from Dominican territory. They are then deported without due process", said Fr José Nuñez SJ, JRS Latin America Regional Director.

"Haitians in Santo Domingo, involved in perfectly legal commercial activities, are confronted by police officers at the end of their working day who demand, under the threat of deportation, their day's earnings", added Fr Nuñez SJ.

"Recognising the right of all States to repatriate citizens that reside irregularly in another State, we call on the Dominican Government, especially on President Leonel Fernández to ensure that all repatriations are carried out in a manner that avoids abuses and respects the human rights of those concerns in line with international law, said Fr. Nuñez SJ.

He also called on the Director of the Migration Office, Carlos Amarante Baret, to dismiss those agents that practice extortion against Haitian immigrants and to ensure that those who work in his organization carry out their duties respecting the laws of the country.

[Source: Jesuit Refugee Service, Dominican Republic, 30nov04]

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