The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation deplores the non-humanitarian conditions to which minors in mobility situations are victims.
The repatriations of Haitian migrants in subhuman conditions have further intensified for the start of the second half of 2022. Unable to regularize their situation in neighboring territory, thousands of Haitian migrants continue to be expelled from the Dominican Republic. In addition to adults made up of men, women and pregnant women among others, children are also among the main victims of repatriations and deportations by the Dominican authorities in dehumanizing conditions.
Despite its numerous alerts on the situation, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation has noted for months that children arrive at the Belladère border in a deplorable state. In addition to being poorly fed – according to the testimonies of many of them – they are often half-dressed, dirty and deprived of hygienic care. In addition, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation was able to register several minors who were victims of violence in all its forms, including cases of rape, physical and verbal attacks.
Indeed, from June to August 2022, 273 repatriated and unaccompanied minors at the Belladère border, including 47 girls and 226 boys, aged 5 to 17, were welcomed and taken care of at the Foundation’s transit center. Zanmi Timoun” in Belladère. Among these ENAs, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation registered and assisted 3 minor girls who were victims of rape and more than ten minors (boys and girls) who were victims of physical attacks. The girls claim to be sometimes raped by the person who facilitates their passage (the buscons) or even by their guardian guardian (the one with whom they live) in the Dominican Republic. According to the children’s testimony, during their interception, they were brutalized before being arrested by Dominican immigration agents. They don’t give them time to put on clean clothes or do or take anything else.
That said, the modalities of deportation and repatriation systematically violate the rights of these children with regard to article 19 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by the two (2) countries, stipulating: “ States Parties take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child against any form of violence, physical or mental harm or brutality, abandonment or neglect, mistreatment or exploitation , including sexual violence […]”.
Thanks to its partnerships with the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, an organization for the promotion and protection of human rights ‘Enfant, continues its mission to combat violence against children in extremely vulnerable situations. Despite the limits of its interventions, it is therefore committed to providing a humanitarian service package with a view to improving the living conditions of children containing: humanitarian assistance (accommodation, food, clothing, hygiene kits, etc.); psycho-social care, medical support and monitoring, economic support for the families of child victims. However, these interventions are far from systematically meeting the needs of these children in emergency and vulnerable situations. Hence the need to consider a global intervention in favor of children repatriated from the Dominican Republic by the Haitian authorities.
The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation draws the attention of the main child protection actors, in particular the competent state authorities, to the fragility of migrant children at the Belladère-Elias Pinas border point. She therefore urges the government authorities in Haiti to intervene with their Dominican counterparts in order to review the modalities of repatriation and deportation, in accordance with the 1999 memorandum of understanding signed between the two (2) States, in strict compliance with the prescribed of the American Convention on Human Rights which prohibits mass deportations and the separation of children from their parents.
Done in Port-au-Prince, September 1, 2022
Joseph Richard FORTUNÉ
Tel: 509 31 87 7363