Dominican Republic expelled 1800 children to Haiti without their parents to ‘avoid conflict’
An official of the Dominican Republic government in charge of the country’s National Commission for the Investigation of Abuse in Public Facilities (Comisión Nacional de Investigación al Abuso en Casas de Pobreza, CONIDA) has called on the United Nations to open an investigation against a government of the Dominican Republic that has expelled 800 children to Haiti “without the permission of their parents.”
The report of the head of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health, Jose Juan Reyes Díaz, said the illegal removal of children was “a violation of international humanitarian law.”
However, the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, James Ziglar, criticized the Dominican government “for its heavy-handed approach, which has resulted in the deportation of many Dominican children.”
The Dominican government, he said, has become “the most restrictive in Latin America in granting safe passage for people fleeing violence in their country.”
The report was issued by CONIDA last Wednesday for a meeting of the group’s directors, which was to have begun today. It contains testimonies of the children, who were given no explanation as to why their parents were expelled to Haiti and were not allowed to contact them, according to the report.
“The international community must act as soon as possible to prevent the violation of human rights,” said the head of CONIDA. “The fact that the Dominican Republic has been trying to avoid dealing with the illegal removal of children is an indication of the seriousness with which the International Community should approach the matter.”
In his testimony, Reyes Díaz said that up to 2,000 children are transported to Haiti each month, without any legal documents.
He said that between February 1, 2012, and 31 December 2013, only 3,450 minors were processed by the Dominican Republic government in the National Health Administration.
He added that these children only receive vaccination shots. “However, the vaccination rate is only 37 percent. This means that many children die as a result of measles.”
The health minister has called on Congress to establish new laws in the United States, which would allow minors to obtain passports. He said that such children would be able to travel to other countries.