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Haitian migrants being forcibly returned to Haiti from the Dominican Republic on May 15, 2013. (Jano Siksé Border Network )

(Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) May 17, 2013 — At 4:45pm on May 15th, human rights monitors from the Jano Siksé Border Network (RFJS) observed a mass repatriation of Haitian migrants at the Comendador border crossing. Comendador is the capital of the Elías Piña province of the Dominican Republic and shares a border crossing with the Haitian town Belladère.

In this expulsion there were 70 people: 48 men, 17 women and five children. Among them were two women in advanced stages of pregnancy, seriously jeopardizing their physical safety and health, as well as the health of their unborn children.

Dieuseul Cadet, 48, and was arrested as he left his job in Juan Dolio. He reported on the conditions in the detention center, saying that migrants there are kept in over-crowded conditions and sleep on the floor without sheets or mattresses. The only food they are given is a glass of milk at 10 a.m. and two plates of rice—one at noon and other at 5 p.m.  

The bus used to transport the deportees over four hours to the border was also severely overcrowded and failed to meet minimum standards of comfort and security. These conditions are in violation of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, Article 10.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 38 of the Dominican Constitution and Article 10 of the Dominican Criminal Procedural Code.

With regard to due process, we know that Dominican migration agents did not inform the migrants of the reason for their arrest or their current legal situation; they only requested the migrants’ names in order to expedite the expulsion.    

During the events of May 15 at the border between Comendador and Belladere, the Dominican Department of Migration violated the 1999 protocol on repatriation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Additionally, these practices violated the human rights and undermined the dignity of the migrants.

These collective expulsions are arbitrary, outside the bounds of current procedure, and prohibited by Article 22.9 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. They violate the immigration laws of the Dominican Republic, which clearly specify that arrests for the purpose of repatriation may not include children, infants or pregnant women.

information from the Jano Siksé Border Network, Centro Bono and Jesuit Refugee Service Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office.

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