|"We hope that the authorities establish transparent and expeditious procedures to ensure respect for human rights and access to legal advice all persons who are arrested for repatriation, " said Serum Jerpin, director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Jimaní.|
by Jesuit Refugee Service Dominican Republic
More than fifty people were repatriated to Haiti from the Dominican Republic to Haiti on September 1 in an operation carried out by Terrestrial Border Security Specialists (CESFRONT) in the city of Jimaní, on the Haitian – Dominican Republic border.
According to informal statements by an official, these deportations will continue regularly and are aimed at people of Haitian descent without documentation, or that "look suspicious." A local resident said that at least four of these returnees were women who had lived more than three years in Jimaní and regularly sold rice and beans in the local market.
Representatives of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Jimaní tried to interview the detained Haitians but they were deported before JRS was able to speak to them.
"We hope that the authorities establish transparent and expeditious procedures to ensure respect for human rights and access to legal advice all persons who are arrested for repatriation, " said Serum Jerpin, director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Jimaní.
Eric Schwartz, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration recently visited the Dominican Republic. Mr Schwartz said he "discussed with Dominican officials a range of migration-related issues affecting individuals of Haitian descent who have been living in the Dominican Republic for many years or even generations. In recent years, constitutional and legislative provisions, as well as administrative directives, have severely limited the ability of individuals of Haitian descent to affirm claims of citizenship. To be sure, the issues are complicated, but there is no dispute that hundreds of thousands of individuals who previously exercised a variety of rights traditionally associated with citizenship are now unable to do so and currently are in a very difficult and uncertain situation."
Mr. Schwartz said that "issues of citizenship are the prerogative of national governments, but broadly accepted and internationally recognized principles of due process and the universal right to nationality should inform decision-making, and the State Department and a range of international organizations have valuable programs and expertise to offer on issues relating to nationality and statelessness. I had useful and productive conversations on these questions with Dominican officials, and felt that those with whom I met appreciated the need for just and humane resolutions."
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