A member of the Dominican Republic security forces stand guard as Haitian citizens get off a truck to be deported on the border between Haiti and Dominican Republic, as gang violence continues in the aftermath of the resignation of Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry, at the binational Border Market in Dajabon province, Dominican Republic, March 17, 2024.

Dominican Republic: Authorities must end de facto racist migration policies

In an open letter addressed to the president of the Dominican Republic and other state institutions, Amnesty International, together with local human rights organizations, has called for an end to human rights violations against Haitians, Dominicans of Haitian descent and Black people in the enforcement of de facto racist migration policies, which are being implemented on the basis of racial discrimination and have a discriminatory impact resulting in the racialized exclusion of Haitians and Dominicans.

“The Dominican government itself has informed of the deportation of more than 250,000 Haitians in 2023, including people in need of international protection. These collective expulsions are a clear violation of the Dominican Republic’s international obligations and put the lives and rights of these people at risk. Forced returns to Haiti must end,” said Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“The government’s drastic decision of suspending all legal channels available to Haitian nationals for working, studying or residing in the country has had significant consequences on family separations, and has left many people in a situation of migratory uncertainty.”

In the letter, Amnesty International and other signatory organizations have stressed that the exclusion of Black people of Haitian and Dominican descent is the result of a set of discriminatory migration policies, in particular the collective detention and expulsion of Haitian nationals, including children and pregnant and postpartum women. These organizations call on the authorities to urgently ensure that Haitians have access to asylum procedures, without discrimination, and restore legal channels of entry and stay for workers, students, family members, asylum seekers and migrants seeking legal residence in the country.

At this crucial time, it is essential that the Dominican Republic commits to building an antiracist society.

Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International

Amnesty International also calls on the authorities to investigate allegations of racist violence and other human rights violations committed by migration officials, police and members of the armed forces; to refrain from detaining and deporting pregnant women, children and Dominicans of Haitian descent; and to guarantee the right to defend human rights.

“We have received reports of serious actions allegedly committed by Dominican state officials against the dignity and physical integrity of Haitians, Black Dominicans and Dominicans of Haitian descent who have been affected by racist practices. Instead of protecting these people from harassment, stigmatization and threats, the Dominican authorities have encouraged discriminatory discourse and policies against them,” said Ana Piquer.

“At this crucial time, it is essential that the Dominican Republic commits to building an antiracist society, where the human rights of all people are fully respected and protected, regardless of their nationality, ethnic heritage or migratory status.”