Dominican Republic Denies US Accusation Regarding Treatment of Non-White People

Haitians being detained for deportation by Dominican Republic authorities
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The Dominican Republic has accused the United States government of providing “no evidence” to back its claim that the Spanish-speaking country engaged in “a systematic pattern of violations of the rights of migrants” especially those from neighboring Haiti.

“Isolated cases may occur, as in any country in the world, which, if reported to the competent authorities, would be duly investigated and punished, if proven to be true,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement regarding Washington’s accusation.

Authorities say they deported 43,900 migrants, largely Haitians, between July and October. In September and October alone, deportation figures shot up by about 50 percent.

Last weekend, the US Embassy issued a statement advising US citizens that in recent months travelers to the Dominican Republic have reported being delayed, detained, or subject to heightened questioning at ports of entry and in other encounters with immigration officials based on their skin color.

“Reports of disparate treatment of US citizens by Dominican authorities are a matter of ongoing concern to the US Embassy.”

It said in recent days, “as reported in Dominican media, Dominican Migration (DGM) agents have conducted widespread operations aimed at detaining those they believe to be undocumented migrants, especially persons of Haitian descent.

“In some cases, authorities have not respected these individuals’ legal status in the Dominican Republic or nationality. These actions may lead to increased interaction with Dominican authorities, especially for darker skinned US citizens and US citizens of African descent.”

The Embassy said there were also “reports that detainees are kept in overcrowded detention centers, without the ability to challenge their detention, and without access to food or restroom facilities, sometimes for days at a time, before being released or deported to Haiti”.

The Embassy said it was advising US citizens to always carry their passport with them, have a charged cell phone and notify the Embassy immediately if they need assistance.

In its reaction to the statement by the US Embassy, the Dominican Republic expressed “its firmest rejection of the alert statement issued …by the United States Embassy in the country, considering it manifestly unfounded, improvised, and unfortunate.

“The United States Government has provided no evidence, beyond anecdotal cases without independent verification, that there is a systematic pattern of violations of the rights of migrants, ordered by the Dominican authorities.”

The Dominican Republic said it would never have “imagined such serious insinuations on the Dominican Republic, whose population shows in its skin color a wide melting pot of races; let alone from an ally who has himself been the target of numerous accusations of xenophobic and racist treatment of migrants and even of sectors of his own population”.

It recalled that the Dominican Republic offers welcoming treatment to “millions of tourists who visit us every year from all over the world, especially from the United States.”

CMC/

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