Dominican Republic: UN experts concerned over fears of arbitrary deportation and racial profiling
Fears of arbitrary deportation
27 July 2015
GENEVA (28 July 2015) – The United Nations Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent today called on the Government of the Dominican Republic to take steps to prevent arbitrary deportations and to adopt measures to address allegations of racial profiling during deportations of people of Haitian descent.
Some 19,000 people have reportedly left Dominican Republic for Haiti since 21 June due to fear and amidst concerns that there will be violations when deportations officially start in August.
“No one should be deported when there are legal and valid reasons to stay,” said human rights expert Mireille Fanon Mendes-France, who currently heads the expert panel. “Migrants are entitled to protection and Dominicans of Haitian descent have the right to reside safely in the territory, as well as children born in the Dominican Republic who are legally registered,”
“The Dominican Republic cannot violate international norms or those of the inter-American system of human rights protection, and especially not violate its own Constitution,” she emphasized.
The expert warned that the difficulties in obtaining necessary documents to register for the naturalization and regularization process, the lack of information on the deportation plan, and the deportations “have instilled fear, resulting in a situation whereby people of Haitian descent without documents are also leaving to avoid abrupt deportations.”
The Working Group reiterated its call* on the Dominican authorities to put in place effective and transparent legislation and other measures to successfully fight the discrimination and social exclusion faced mostly by Haitian migrants and people of Haitian descent in the country.
“The Dominican Republic does not recognize the existence of a structural problem of racism and xenophobia, but it must address these issues as a matter of priority so the country can live free from tension and fear,” Ms. Mendes-France stressed.
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Mireille FANON-MENDES-FRANCE (France), current Chair-Rapporteur; Ms. Verene SHEPHERD (Jamaica); Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa); Mr. Ricardo A. SUNGA III (the Philippines) and Mr. Michal BALCERZAK (Poland). Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/WGAfricanDescent/Pages/WGEPADIndex.aspx
The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.