World

Haitians in the Dominican Republic

Témoignages.re / 12 February 2016

Hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic are at risk of arbitrary deportation or of becoming stateless. Even though many were born in the Dominican Republican or have lived there for decades, tens of thousands have either been forcibly deported or have fled the crackdown and legal uncertainty.

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Hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic are at risk of arbitrary deportation or of becoming stateless
© Andrew Bowley/IRIN

The history of migration and deportation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is a long and unhappy one. In 1937, the dictatorial Dominican President Rafael Trujillo ordered the slaughter of thousands of immigrant Haitians living in the borderlands. The notorious event became known as the Parsley Massacre as Trujillo’s soldiers held up sprigs of parsley and asked suspected Creole-speaking Haitians to pronounce the Spanish word to seal their fate.

Haitians have been needed as workers but unwanted as citizens in the Dominican Republic for generations. Over the decades, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have entered the country’s labour force, particularly on the sugar plantations or, more recently, to do menial work in DR’s flourishing tourism industry. Anywhere between half a million and one million people of Haitian descent now form a large minority within the Republic’s population of more than 10 million. In 2013, the constitutional court ruled that children born to non-Dominican citizens, mostly undocumented Haitian immigrants, were not entitled to citizenship. Not only that, but it extended the ruling back to 1929, retroactively stripping many of the citizenship they thought they had. Over the past year, the government has begun deporting those without papers or who can’t prove their eligibility for formal status.

View online : http://www.irinnews.org/report/1024...


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