Press note

Illegal detention of minors in the Dominican Republic: the Zanmi Timoun Foundation launches an alert to institutions defending children’s rights

For several years, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation has observed the deportation of Haitian immigrants to the Dominican Republic. In fact, this phenomenon has increased due to the current diplomatic tension linked to the construction of the canal in Ouanaminthe. This implies special cases where even young children are not spared. Therefore, as an institution defending the rights of the Child, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is launching an appeal to attract the attention of its various partners, particularly those involved in the field of protection and children’s rights. the Child including those who deal with the affairs of migrants.

Indeed, since the beginning of September 2023, the mass deportation and mistreatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic have accelerated and taken another form. This encourages cases of illegal detention of minors by the Dominican authorities. These cases of deportation affect not only legal and illegal Haitians but also young children born on Dominican territory. This phenomenon occurs in different spaces: school, public transport, home, hospital, etc. That said, the rights of Haitians, particularly children, are violated on Dominican territory.

In addition, there are very specific cases which attract the attention of the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation as an institution whose mission is to promote and defend the rights of the Child in Haiti. Indeed, according to representatives of the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation office in Belladère, there are several Haitian parents deported from the Dominican Republic who no longer have news of their children. Among the specific cases we find, a young 23-year-old Haitian woman named Jacqueline GABRIEL who lived in Ti Lembo, arrested by Dominican immigration in Santiago with her eleven-month-old daughter, but she was repatriated without her. We can also cite the case of Edalène SAINT CROIX, a young Haitian woman aged 29, who lived in La Romana with her two-year-old son, also arrested and repatriated without him. There are other cases identified by our collaborators on this phenomenon of illegal detention of minors by Dominican immigration. This situation is contrary to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the Dominican State.

Finally, this call is launched by the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation to request a collective awakening of organizations working in the protection and defense of Children’s rights in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is important to have our eyes open to the situation of Haitian migrants who have suffered assaults and attacks of all kinds since the closure of the border. In other words, this appeal is launched with the aim of putting the spotlight on all forms of mistreatment suffered by Haitians, particularly children who are kept illegally in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation calls on state and non-state actors to act in accordance with their missions to be able to provide an effective response to this phenomenon.

Done in Port-au-Prince, September 28, 2023

Manoach PRESNA
Program Manager
Tel: 509 3746-7196 / 3396-1778