Lead image: Dominican Today
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights expresses concern about the Dominican Republic’s government declaration of the construction of a fence on the Dominican-Haitian border as an ‘emergency’. The Government has assigned the Ministry of Defence to spearhead the process and has decided to keep all related information as “classified.” As explained recently, the fence is the latest example of the State’s commitment to its historic racist and xenophobic stance towards Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent.
Classifying the information related to this project as a state secret provides cover for State abuse and corruption, and violates the right of access to information of all Dominicans. This lack of transparency further abets the Dominican State’s ongoing refusal to respond for its violations of the human rights of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent.
In addition to Haitian migrants facing daily harassment and the constant threat of expulsion, the Dominican Republic has denied Dominican nationality to thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent and created a second-class tier of citizenship for thousands more. The government’s positioning of the fence as a response to threats of illegal migration, drug trafficking, and stolen vehicles from Haiti is a blatant attempt to further demonize those whom State policies have already made vulnerable.
The international community must call on the Dominican government to reconsider the construction of the border fence and drop its intent to avoid scrutiny through the determination of the fence’s construction as “classified.” Further, it should renew its calls on the Dominican government to fully respect and protect the rights of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent.