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Discriminatory measures against the Haitians in Dominican Republic under cover of fight anti-cholera

Since the advertisement of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the haitians migrants in Dominican Republic are victims of various measures tinted of discrimination. The authors of these provisions are at the same time trade unions of public transport, public authorities or entities of the tourist sector. The Dominican press reports that the National Confederation of Transport (CONATRA) prohibited to the bus drivers to transport Haitians (El Nacional, 6/12/10). According to the police force, indicates the same source, “the illegal Haitians can be a source of propagation of the cholera in Dominican Republic”. When police officers find an undocumented Haitian on board a bus, they confiscate the vehicle, informs the daily newspaper. Various branches of the trade union of transport CONATRA apply this measurement of prohibition of Haitian passengers aboard buses, the such representations of the CONATRA in the South, North and East of the Dominican Republic. Always according to the daily newspaper El Nacional, the president of the trade union, Antonio Marte, expressed itself in these terms: “That these Haitians have legal papers or not, we will refuse to them the access on board our buses”. He complained about the abuses made by the Dominican police force which carries out the seizure of the buses which transport Haitians even when the latter present a regular documentation. The person in charge of the CONATRA informs that the trade union of transport will maintain this restriction as long as the authorities will continue to scorn their trade union rights and to carry out the seizure of their vehicles for one 3-4 month duration as they have started to do it. 40 buses would already have been seized by the authorities. On its side, the Association of the minibuses of the area of Haina, in the surface of the capital, required of its drivers to observe the facies of their passengers well and to require those which resemble Haitians to show their papers before giving access on board to them. It is necessary to recall that on November 24, 2010, president Leonel Fernandez had chaired a great meeting with the National Commission on the Cholera, integrated by the Dominican Armed forces and the Direction of the Migration. It was instituted during this meeting a provision known as  » Directiva Diecinueve ». It is allocated to the vice-minister of the army, general major Antonio Campusino Lopez, the task to supervise all the operations of vigilance. The high ranking officer had declared in the circumstance: “We will supervise all the frontier corridors by where could pass the Haitians and we will convince the trade unions of drivers so that they do not transport the illegal ones” (Hoy, 25/11/10) Entities of the Dominican tourist sector are not in remainder. According to an Haitian employee of a chain of hotels in Puerto Plata, the direction warned its employees who would intend to travel to Haiti. If ever they do it, they will be returned from the hotel because of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. “My period of leave arrived but I cannot return to Port-au-Prince to see my family and my children, it is hard”. entrusted the Haitian national to a representative of the GARR, in Santo Domingo, on November 24 past. It is noticieable, however, that in this fight anti-cholera, the persons in charge in Santo Domingo adopt at the very least contradictory measures. According to the Dominican press, the authorities yielded to the pressure of more than 3000 salesmen-saleswoman of worn clothing by authorizing the reopening of the market called « La Pulga », on December 6, 2010 with Santo Domingo (El Nacional, 6/12/10). Two weeks before, it is with shootings and jets of teargas that the police force had invaded this market, at 5 a.m in the morning, to dislodge its occupants because according to the authorities, this worn clothing is a source of propagation of the cholera (El Caribe, 21/11/10). Dissatisfied, Dominican salesmen-saleswoman claimed their right to practice this trade in the capital since it is accepted at the border. According to the same source, the market was reopened with series of sanitary measures and the distribution of chlorine. The situation which develops in Dominican Republic as to the management of the cholera, is alarming for many Haitians: if they cannot travel, neither to devote itself to the trade, nor to work, what will become of their existence? The GARR recognizes the right of the Dominican State to take care of the protection of its population. However, it condemns discriminatory measures against haitian migrants and this amalgam established by the authorities between migrants without paper and cholera and that, to the detriment even of the regular migrants. The GARR greets the advertisement of a meeting between the two Heads of State of the island around the management of the cholera, and exhorts the Haitian authorities to defend the rights of their citizens and to point up the abuses and the discrimination which affect them in Dominican Republic.

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