Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents A39
Thursday, November 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NEIBA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ---
Authorities in the Dominican Repub-
lic rounded up 88 more people and
sent them to Haiti, two migrant
advocates said Tuesday.
Tobias Metzner, a Haiti-based
counter-trafficking programme man-
ager for the International Organisation
for Migration, said troops took the
Haitians and others of Haitian descent
to the border Tuesday night. The Rev
Antoine Lissaint of Haiti s Jesuit
Refugee and Migrant Organisation
said separately that the 88 were taken
to the southern border town of Jimani.
Metzner said the deportees were
likely coerced into leaving and didn t
choose to go on their own as Domini-
can officials have reported.
"People are being threatened to
leave. What is the voluntary nature
of their return?" Metzner said by
phone. "They did not want to die."
The number of those who have left
the Dominican Republic following an
outbreak of violence on the border
now stands at 357. After they crossed
over, buses took them to a centre run
by Haiti s Office of Migration and
they were given a meal and about
US$22 to reunite with family. The
same procedure was expected for the
Some of the deportees have said
they were threatened to leave.
Dominican police say people wanted
to leave because they feared being
victims of mob violence.
The exodus began Saturday, with
244 people, after an elderly Dominican
couple was slain during an apparent
burglary near the town of Neiba, and
a mob of Dominicans retaliated by
killing a Haitian man. On Monday,
113 more people followed, Metzner
Dominican officials have since
tightened restrictions on the border,
ensuring that Haitians and others
trying to cross have authorisation.
Ordinarily, the frontier is wide open
and many people freely move
between the two countries.
In and outside Neiba, the few
Haitians visible in the streets say
they aren t eager to be in public for
"We re forced to be afraid, because
we re not in our country," farmer
Aubin Pierre, 25, said as he walked
along a highway.
A Dominican soldier played down
the significance of the violence, say-
ing the area outside Neiba is dan-
"You can t go there," Sgt Enrique
Canario said at one of several check-
points between Neiba and the border.
"If you go, you will be killed."
The removals come amid a polit-
ically delicate time for the two
nations, which share the Caribbean
island of Hispaniola. Two months
ago, a Dominican court ruled that
citizenship should be stripped from
residents born to migrants who were
living in the country illegally, and
many of those affected are of Haitian
Advocates say 200,000 people
could lose their citizenship and doc-
uments they need to work or attend
school. The Dominican government
said in a preliminary report that only
about 24,000 people would be
The Caribbean Community con-
demned the court decision during a
meeting Tuesday. The trade bloc also
put off voting on the Dominican
Republic s application to become a
SANTO DOMINGO --- The Dominican
Republic says it will no longer meet
with Haitian officials to talk about a
court ruling that could strip citizen-
ship from those born to migrants liv-
ing in the country illegally.
Yesterday s announcement comes a
day after the Caribbean Community
criticised the ruling and said it would
defer a Dominican request to become
a member of the trade bloc.
Dominican Presidential Minister
Gustavo Montalvo said the government
canceled the meeting because it feels
Haiti violated an earlier agreement to
prioritise bilateral dialogue.
Jose Ramon Fadul, president of the
Dominican Republic s National Migra-
tion Council, accused Caricom of inter-
ference and retaliation.
Haiti President Michel Martelly had
attended Caricom s meeting and said
he was supposed to meet with Domini-
can officials by week s end, noting he
wanted to see concrete action taken.
Dominican officials cancel
meeting with Haiti
send 88 more
total now 357
Louissien Pierra, 25, who was born in Neiba, Dominican Republic, holds his two-year-old daughter Anita
Pierra as they wait to board a bus to a Haitian town where they have family, in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, on
Monday. Expulsions and voluntary departures from the DR to Haiti follow violence that engulfed the town of
Neiba in the southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic. Relations between the two have soured since
September when a Dominican court threatened to revoke citizenship for residents of the Dominican Republic
of Haitian descent. AP PHOTO
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