Haitian migrants deported from Dominican Republic (Photo: Socialist Movement of Workers of the Dominican Republic)
Oppression of Haitians in the Dominican Republic intensifies, as deportations and discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent continues. The Socialist Workers Movement of the Dominican Republic and 24 other Dominican and Haitian organizations have issued this joint statement and petition.
Article originally published in Socialist Movement of the Workers of the Dominican Republic
We repudiate President Abinader's campaign of mass deportations and decree 668-22
President Abinader has reacted violently to the international calls he has received due to his massive human rights violations against the Haitian immigrant community. The president has threatened to increase the pace of deportations of Haitian people, and has issued the dangerous decree 668-22 which enables the expulsion of thousands of people who have been living in bateyes on state lands for decades. We are facing a very dangerous campaign of massive deportations that could turn into a campaign of ethnic cleansing if the Dominican society doesn’t show democratic reflexes and puts a stop to the government.
We reject these threats and the intensification of racist persecution against Haitian immigrants, Dominicans of Haitian descent and black Dominicans. We recall that currently around two hundred thousand Dominicans of Haitian descent continue to be denationalized as a result of court ruling 168-13, and that thousands of Haitians who have lived and worked for decades in the country do not have legal residency due to a deliberate policy of non-regularization of migrants applied by successive governments.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement on November 3 calling on all States to suspend the forced return of Haitians to their country, given the humanitarian crisis situation there. High Commissioner Filippo Grandi explained that mass expulsions of people seeking refuge and arbitrary detentions are violations of international treaties and pacts on the right to refuge.
Prior to this, on October 28, even the US government, ally of the Abinader administration, through the official Uzra Zeya, suggested measures be taken against human trafficking and specifically recommended to protect Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent from trafficking. The involvement of Dominican military and police agents in human trafficking is widely documented. On 10 November, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, insisted in a brief communiqué on the call not to continue expulsions to Haiti, and asked the Dominican government to "increase efforts to prevent xenophobia, discrimination and related forms of intolerance based on national, racial or ethnic origin, or migratory status".
Abinader responded from the National Palace that he considered the UN representative's statement as "unacceptable and irresponsible", and threatened not only to maintain the current rate of deportations but to increase it. Contradictorily, he said that the Dominican State "has been much more supportive (to Haitians) than all other countries in the world", and repeated that Haitian immigrants are an economic burden. Abinader's government de facto does not recognize the validity of international treaties on human rights and specifically on the right to refuge.
Upping the ante, Abinader issued Decree 668-22 on November 11, in which, alleging reasons of national security, he orders the massive expulsion of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent who have been living for decades in bateyes in the sugar cane zones which are state lands. In addition to denying pension rights to the old sugar cane workers, the government is now directly threatening ethnic cleansing on a scale not seen since 1937. The expelled persons would be permanently banned from returning to Dominican territory.
Taking into account that the current legal framework already allows for the punishment of crimes against property and that decree 668-22 does not contribute anything new in this sense, it is evident that it is a fundamentally political document, which enables the eviction of bateyes on State and private sugar cane company lands.
Beyond the criticisms we have of the role of the UN in Haiti, especially for the Minustah military occupation between 2004 and 2017, today we are facing an alarming escalation of the racist and xenophobic policy of the Dominican government, which includes the call by Abinader for an international military intervention against Haiti. Between January and September of this year, the Dominican government has carried out more than 85 thousand expulsions of Haitian immigrants, according to official figures. The Dominican government carries out massive expulsions, including the arbitrary detention of pregnant women and infants unaccompanied by their parents or legal representatives. The arbitrary detention of Dominicans of Haitian descent in immigration operations has also been documented.
The General Directorate of Migration (DGM) violates the Constitution, which establishes that agents making any arrest must identify themselves. Searches of homes without warrants are also common. In addition, all binational immigration protocols are violated, with the expulsion of people through unofficial border points, on days and at times other than those established, among other violations. To all this must be added the daily extortion suffered by immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent by police and immigration agents, detention in centers without proper hygienic conditions, overcrowding in DGM buses, and theft of cell phones and other property. In some cases, there have been cases of torture and executions by police and immigration agents in the context of these operations.
The manhunt against black people carried out by the Abinader government is an expression of State terrorism against the immigrant community and Dominicans of Haitian descent denationalized by sentence 168-13. Abinader has been carrying out an intense propaganda in which he describes the Haitian immigrant community as an economic burden, knowing that it is a hard working community that makes enormous contributions to the Dominican economy and society. Agriculture, tourism and construction are some of the industries that rely on the super-exploitation of the Haitian working class. The infrastructure built by this government also has the contribution of Haitian labor. Even the border wall, which is useless to stop migration but very useful in ideological terms, is built by Haitian workers. The persecution of the Haitian immigrant working class serves to keep them in conditions of extreme precariousness and super-exploitation, increasing capitalist profits.
This authoritarian, anti-democratic policy, which rages against the most vulnerable sectors of the population to satisfy the extreme right, far from showing strength is a symptom of weakness. The president is incapable of giving a public response to the extreme right wing that calls for a boycott of the national census, but shows himself tough and "patriotic" before the human rights organizations. He also competes in anti-Haitianism with the anti-vaccine, anti-abortion and anti-census right wing which participates together with the Instituto Duartiano, a state institution, in neo-fascist marches.
The recognition of the refugee status of a group of people does not threaten the sovereignty of the Dominican Republic or any other country. In recent years, millions of Venezuelan, Syrian and Ukrainian refugees have left their countries without any merger of countries or cession of territories. It is unacceptable that public policy be based on racist conspiracy theories and neo-Trujillo ideologies.
We call on all organizations that consider themselves democratic, anti-racist, feminist and defenders of human rights in the Americas and the Caribbean to strongly repudiate the structurally racist, increasingly authoritarian and human rights-violating policies of the Dominican government, especially the massive deportations and decree 668-22.
Abolish decree 668-22!
Haitian lives matter!
No apartheid or ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic!
National Popular Coordinating Committee
Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST)
Revolutionary Left (IR)
Movement of Haitian-Dominican Women (MUDHA)
Mamá Tingó Sociopolitical Women
Community of Inclusive Dominican Lesbians (COLESDOM)
Urban Popular Network (Red Urbano Popular)
Unity and Progress Struggle Front (FLUP)
Democratic Women's Union (UDEMU)
Revolutionary Socialist Militancy (MRS)
Intercultural Connection for Well-Being and Autonomy La Ceiba DR
Feminist Forum Magaly Pineda
Dominican Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)
Human Code Foundation
Junta de Prietas
Feminist Cities (CISCSA)
Sindicato de Trabajadores Artesanales, Informales e Independientes de Medellín (SINTRAIM) (Union of Craft, Informal and Independent Workers of Medellín)
Civic Board Paraje El Pinar
Popular Sectors Women’s Movement Luna Creciente
Butterfly Effect NYC
DC AfroLatino Caucus
We Are All Dominican
Unión Popular Valle Gómez
Narciso Isa Conde, Caamañista Movement and Revolutionary Left
Julio Ortega Frier
Angela Fernin, Foro Feminista Magaly Pineda
Roberto Espinal, Dominican Medical Association
Marcel Méndez Fortuna
Elissa L. Lister
Argentina Gutiérrez, feminist
Yildalina Tatem Brache
Mirla Hernández Núñez
María Bizenny Martínez