Dominican Republic expelled 1800 children to Haiti without their parents
By Staff writers
The Dominican Republic has expelled more than 1800 children to Haiti by force under a government program aimed at creating a “new” immigration system, a United Nations official said on Saturday.
The expulsion of the children without their parents was a violation of the UN convention on the rights of the child, United Nations resident coordinator in the Dominican Republic Michael Steirn said.
Steirn, who visited the Dominican Republic on Saturday, said the forced removal of children to Haiti was “clearly an act of violation of the rights set out in the convention”.
“The United States and other countries, countries like China and Russia, who are the principal exporters of children, know very well that this expulsion is against international practice,” he added.
He said a delegation also visited the Dominican Republic in October, and was told that the Dominican Republic “welcomes the cooperation of the United Nations and is going to continue its cooperation and its assistance in this program,”
The Dominican Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that Dominican children had been deported to Haiti without their parents between January and August of this year.
“The fact that there were children without their parents, that they were removed by force and that they are being sent to Haiti without their families, is a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Steirn said.
The UN resident coordinator said that in all, there were approximately 18,000 Dominican children between the ages of 0 and 18 who had been moved to Haiti under the program.
The Dominican Republic, along with four Caribbean countries, has a history of children being moved to Haiti under an old system to send them to the Caribbean island nation after years of poverty and abuse. Human Rights Watch said in a press release issued Thursday the Dominican Republic was the only country in which children had been sent to Haiti through this system.
The Dominican Republic, an island nation of 1.3 million people located in the Caribbean, has about one million undocumented immigrants, according to the UN.
According to the organization, the Dominican Foreign Ministry in a press release published Thursday had said the country had taken “appropriate measures to ensure the protection of the rights of the children involved in this matter�