President Abinader responds to UN refugees’ spokesperson: DR is sovereign country

President Luis Abinader on 11 November 2022 called unacceptable and irresponsible the recent statement published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) calling for an end to deportations of Haitian nationals from the Dominican Republic.

In reality, deportations are but a trickle in the number of migrants that cross from Haiti. There are border gates at leading cross sections (Dajabón, Elías Piña and Jimaní), but for the most part there is little of a border between both countries. The border gates open on market days for all Haitians, regarded if they are documented or not, to enter, and no controls on who leaves.

Likewise, border city government officials and legislators have on several occasions have accused the Dominican military of profiteering from the allowing of Haitians to be transported to cities after these have crossed the border.

Thus, deportations are symbolic and but a trickle of the large numbers of people that enter from Haiti. Indeed, everyday, thousands enter to receive classes at Dominican public schools, and many public hospitals serve more than 40% Haitian nationals without charge. The collapse of the medical and educational systems in Haiti has increased the burden on Dominican taxpayers to cover more costs for basic social services for the Haitian population.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, 10 November 2022, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued the following statement:
“A week ago I called for deportations to Haiti to stop, given the human rights and humanitarian crises the country is facing. I am troubled to see that forced returns of Haitians to Haiti from the Dominican Republic are continuing.
Unremitting armed violence and systematic human rights violations in Haiti do not currently allow for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of Haitians to the country. I reiterate my call to all countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic, to halt the deportation of Haitians.
I also call on the Dominican Republic authorities to step up efforts to prevent xenophobia, discrimination and related forms of intolerance based on national, racial or ethnic origin, or immigration status.”

President Luis Abinader responded to the statement signed by Volker Turk, high commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. President Abinader when asked by journalists at the Presidential Palace said that the UN request was “unacceptable and “irresponsible.” He said each country’s migration policy is the country’s responsibility. He complained that the Dominican Republic is the country that has done the most to help Haitian nationals immersed in gang violence and a total collapse of commercial and social services.

Abinader responded that the deportations of illegal Haitians would continue.

The official position of the Dominican government is that the country is acting according to its Constitutional, the international treaties ratified by the country and General Migration Law 285-04. The Ministry of Foreign Relations states:

“The Dominican Republic, a sovereign country, has the right not to allow entry to those who fail to comply with the requirements established in the migration law and, in turn, is repatriating the massive migration of Haitians, always respecting the principle of due process and the norms of international law.”

Likewise, the country urges the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, to make all necessary efforts to seek a regional and international solution to the massive migration of Haitians.

The Dominican government recalls that the Haitian State has insistently called on the international community to intervene urgently to its aid due to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis in which it has found itself for a long time.

The president of the Constitutional Court, Milton Ray Guevara backed the position of President Abinader when asked by reporters.

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14 November 2022