The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation condemns the massive deportation of Haitian children in subhuman conditions on the Haitian-Dominican border.
During the last three months, from April to June 2023, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation observed a massive deportation of Haitians, including children, on the Haitian-Dominican border in subhuman conditions, i.e. 178 unaccompanied children. At the same time, many children are forced to leave without their parents in violation of Dominican national laws and international conventions ratified by the Dominican State. Repatriated and deported Haitians leave their family members and socio-economic activities at home. In these situations, Haitian and Dominican children of Haitian descent face danger, precariousness, all forms of discrimination and are certainly not safe from violence.
In fact, children are deported without being accompanied. They are caught in the street, in supermarkets, in their workplaces among other places. These practices are contrary to the two conventions of the International Labor Organization relating to child labor. These are ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labor. Some children are imprisoned where they are victims of all forms of violence either among themselves or by the police authorities and Dominican migration. They are sent back to Haiti, without having time to inform their loved ones. Some arrive hungry for several days, with indecent clothes and often without shoes, without any hope of finding their parents.
The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation reminds the Dominican and Haitian authorities of the urgent need to respect the binational protocol on repatriations between the two countries of the Island of Haiti, signed on March 2, 1999. In addition, there is the Global Compact for Migration, an act adopted at an intergovernmental conference that took place in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2018, recognizing that children are at the heart of migration management and must be treated differently. It should be noted that children on the move are above all children and have specific rights guaranteed by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989. They require specific care. Furthermore, they deserve to be protected, to receive care and to benefit from the support and services necessary for their development and reintegration.
Based on these findings, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation urges the two States (Haitian and Dominican) to take the necessary measures to protect children. Effective actions to alleviate this endless scourge for the social cohesion of our country must be implemented. The strengthening of infrastructure in border areas should be encouraged on the Haitian side with a view to better reception of children repatriated and deported from the Dominican Republic on the border. The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation also encourages the Haitian and Dominican governments to do everything possible to avoid cases of statelessness in the border areas of the two countries.
Done in Port-au-Prince, June 27, 2023
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