Press note

The Transit Center of the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is overflowing following the number of Haitian children repatriated to the Haitian-Dominican border of Belladère

The ordeal of children repatriated from the Dominican Republic has continued to raise serious concerns within the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation since the beginning of 2022. The institution’s Transit Center in Belladère, which receives Haitian children repatriated and deported is saturated due to excessive repatriations on the Belladère/Elias Pinas border in recent months. Not a day goes by without at least thirty deported/repatriated and unaccompanied children being recorded at the Carrizal border, in the border town of Belladère. During the 5 months of 2022, more than 500 unaccompanied children were repatriated from the Dominican Republic, 362 of whom are assisted by the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation. Among these children, the Foundation welcomes 17 pregnant minors aged 4 to 6 months. Generally, according to their testimony, they are pregnant by their smuggler (buscones), a close family member or a Dominican neighbor.
The repatriated and deported children are aged between 10 and 17 years old. These deportations violate the rights of Haitian children guaranteed by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the Dominican State. This is a very complex situation for the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation since the reception capacity of its transit center is completely exceeded by its reception limit. In May alone, 142 minors arrived at the border, including 126 boys, 16 girls.
The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, an organization for the defense and promotion of Children’s Rights, expresses its concern and hastens to draw the attention of government authorities in Haiti to the deleterious extent of this situation which makes the daily lives of these unfortunate children worse. These children complain of the pressure and mistreatment they suffer from smugglers (commonly called Bouscones) during their trip to the Dominican Republic. These children arrived on Haitian territory in extremely difficult conditions and visibly exhausted. It is therefore urgent to act in favor of these children. If nothing is done, the situation risks being explosive, community violence, juvenile delinquency, human trafficking in the region among others…
The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation underlines that the situation is really critical on the Belladere border. It must appeal to the conscience of more than one person, particularly the main actors in Child Protection. The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation asks the current authorities to take urgent measures for the protection of children repatriated from the Dominican Republic and to intervene with the Dominican government in order to stop these illegal deportations of Haitian children. The “Zanmi Timoun Foundation recalls that the States had a memorandum of understanding on repatriation mechanisms between the two countries, in 1999, which prohibits the separation of children from their biological family.

Done in Port-au-Prince, May 27, 2022

Joseph Richard FORTUNE
Communication manager
(509) 3187 7363