Ouanaminthe, Haiti.- Haitian Jean Renauld Pierre, 35, lived in Pétion-ville in an elevated area of Port-au-Prince. His older sister, who cared for him, was killed in the January 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people.
Days after the devastating earthquake, he moved to the border country in search of better living conditions and began working in the construction sector, but, according to him, life for Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic is a “nightmare.”
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“Since then, I have been a forgotten man in the Dominican Republic,” this man, whose physical conditions make him believe that he is older, told EFE.
Pierre, like many of his fellow citizens with irregular immigration status in the neighboring country, was deported to Ouanaminthe, a Haitian border town located just over 500 meters from Dajabón.
HARD LIVING CONDITIONS
The living conditions of Haitians in the Dominican Republic are not good. Haitian immigrants are mistreated by Dominicans, as stated by several of them at different points on the border between the two nations.
“Haitians suffer a lot in the Dominican Republic, they treat us like animals. Dominicans do not value us. I would like to return to the neighboring republic, but I fear for my life,” Pierre declared.
“Dominicans mistreat Haitians. Not even women are spared,” she criticized, denouncing the employers in the Dominican Republic who are happy when immigration officials repatriate Haitians, thus keeping the wages of Haitian workers.
Haitians continue to denounce the poor conditions in which Dominican immigration authorities they return them to Haiti.
Papo Ajilswa, a man in his forties, lived for two years in the Dominican Republic. “They put us through a lot of misery. They put us in jail,” he said. This, without being able to eat or bathe. A situation that he lived in a jail in Santiago, where he spent five days. “Living conditions are terrible for Haitians who are in prison before being repatriated,” he added.
Due to his deplorable situation, he cannot return to his home in Haiti. He has been deported for three weeks. The same situation is going through Pierre, who assured that he left everything in the Dominican Republic (…) money, people that he owes him.
“The difference between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is that in the Dominican Republic it is easier to find work,” he said.
NGO COMPLAINTS ABUSE
Regarding the situation of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic, the situation has not really changed, said a person in charge of the Support Group for Repatriates and Refugees (GARR) in statements to EFE.
“The rights of these Haitians are violated on a daily basis,” said the organization’s Communications Director, Sam Guillaume, recalling that there is a protocol between the two countries that defines how repatriations should be carried out.
“Nothing in this agreement protocol is respected,” said the executive, who denounced that the Haitian media do not really talk about it.
Guillaume affirmed that last month 26,916 Haitian immigrants from the Dominican Republic returned to Haiti, of which 14,133 were repatriated and the rest did so voluntarily.
Of the repatriates, 12,000 were returned to official border points.
“Pregnant women were also counted, 245 of them returned last January, of which 115 were repatriated, not to mention no less than 70 unaccompanied minors. The violations of the rights of immigrants do not stop”, concluded Guillaume.
NO LIFE IN HAITI
Repatriated at least 4 times, Jean Renauld is in Ouanaminthe, in the northeast of Haiti. Since his last repatriation, he lives at the expense of people who have come to his aid.
“I am going through a difficult time in Haiti. You are in your own country, but you cannot live in it. They force you to leave it to go suffer humiliation in foreign countries, ”she complained.
The authorities involved are destroying the country, said this unemployed man, who believes that only unity can save Haiti.
“Given the situation in my country, I am forced to return to the Dominican Republic. There are no jobs. Without leaders and without security. The situation is only getting worse. I want to continue working”, affirms Pierre.
He assures that the Haitian authorities push the Haitian inhabitants to leave, remembering that nobody would like to be prevented from living in their own country.