Haitian group asks Canada to condemn 'racism' in Dominican Republic deportations

OTTAWA — A group in Haiti that supports people sent home from the neighbouring Dominican Republic is calling on Canada to raise the alarm about accusations of inhumane and racist treatment.

Violent gangs have taken over large swaths of Haiti and thousands have headed over the border into the Dominican Republic, both legally and illegally, to escape rising living costs and the threat of kidnapping.

But the Haitian organization Support Group for Refugees and Returnees says the Dominican Republic is breaking international rules and a bilateral agreement on how to treat migrants being sent home.

The group says there is a "hunt" on Haitians, who are rounded up in caged trucks without access to food or water, months after the U.S. deplored Dominican officials arbitrarily detaining "darker skinned" people, including Americans.

The group in Haiti is now calling on Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly to specifically call out the Dominican Republic, amid continued pleas from Ottawa for the global community to respond to the crisis in Haiti.

The Dominican Republic is vying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and has previously pushed back on the UN after it urged the country to suspend deportations back to a country that has become so dangerous.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

The Canadian Press