I was appalled but fascinated by an article I read in last Sunday’s New York Times. It talked about the savage, racist treatment of Haitians on the part of the government entities (and the people) of the Dominican Republic. The treatment of immigrant laborers in the United States is appalling, but the condition of Haitian workers in the D.R. is downright sickening:
“Where there are two Haitians, kill one; where there are three Haitians, kill two,” said leaders of the mobs that descended on the immigrants’ camps, the Haitians here recalled. “But always let one go so that he can run back to his country and tell them what happened.”
Immigrants who make the trek from Haiti to work run the risk of being lynched or murdered in some other fashion. The luckier ones survive, but are forced to live like animals with no legal protection whatsoever. Even Dominican-born Haitians, who are Dominican citizens, are denied the most basic rights and protections:
At the root of the problem, Ms. Altholz said, is that Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born children live in a state of “permanent illegality,” unable to acquire documents that prove they have jobs or attend schools or even that they were born in this country.
In October, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an opinion that the Dominican Republic was illegally denying birth certificates to babies born here to Haitian parents, and ordered the government to end the practice.
Particularly chilling was this quote from a Dominican activist priest:
“By keeping Haitians in a limbo of illegality, the government can do whatever they want with them,” said the Rev. Regino Martínez Bretón of the Jesuit-run agency Solidaridad Fronteriza, in Dajabón, a city on the Dominican border. “The government can bring as many Haitians here as they want and then throw them away when they don’t want them anymore.”
Perhaps more frightening is the government dismissal of the charges:
“In no way can the government of the Dominican Republic be characterized as one that does not respect basic rights.”
Amazing how cruel men can be to their fellow men, and how much of this has to do with race. I hope that journalists and activists continue to expose this shameful situation.
Via / The New York Times