World Vision calls to ensure rights of children during deportations in the Dominican Republic

Given the deportation process that is soon to be launched for those living in Dominican Republic who have either who have either not applied or qualified for the National Plan of regularization of foreigners, World Vision in the Dominican Republic and Haiti call both governments to take the necessary actions to avoid a humanitarian crisis by protecting the rights of children and adolescents at risk of being deported. 

Santo Domingo, June 18, 2015. World Vision Dominican Republic and Haiti are asking that children remain with their families, preventing the deportation of adults without their children and moving children transported collectively with strangers and stranded on the border. 

Also they are concerned about the possibility of undocumented Dominican children and adolescents being deported because of their facial features and skin color. 

“If children and adolescents lack a birth registration or a document stating their migratory condition, the agents of the National Migration Directory, the National Army or the Specialized Border Security Agency (CESFRONT) will not be able to discern their place of birth. This situation will put them at risk of being deported to a country where they may not have relatives to accompany them and ensure their protection”, said David Coates, National Director of World Vision in DR. 

“Protection entities on both sides of the island must work together in the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that aims at speeding up the documentation process of children and adolescents and helps governments meet the guarantees of due process, monitoring and creating reception areas for close monitoring of children at risk of deportation”, stated John Hasse, Director of World Vision in Haiti. 

In Dominican Republic there are 524.632 living foreigners, according to the First National Survey of Immigrants (ENI-2012), endorsed by the National Bureau of Statistics. Of that total, 458.233 people were born in Haiti, accounting for 87.3% of the immigrant population, while 66.399 people, 12.7% are from other countries which reveals the predominance of Haitian immigrants and increased vulnerability to children of this population. 

Recommendations 

- Implement the Memorandum of Understanding Mechanisms of repatriation, signed by Dominican Republic and Haiti in 1999, supplemented by special guidelines that provide greater guarantees for the protection of children consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by both countries. 

- Ensure respect for the dignity of children in the five centers, which the Dominican government has set as the first point of arrival for verification of the immigration status of people before their final deportation. 

- Continue the process of dialogue, involving representatives of civil society of the two countries. It is also important to consider that the time allowed for people enrolled to complete their dossiers, without being deported is guaranteed. 

- Guarantee access to clean water and the fundamental rights, such as food, health, education and adequate facilities for children recreation and sanitation facilities and ensure protection against physical, verbal or sexual assault during this process. 

- Provide psycho-emotional support to children and their families in the process of regularization and deportation.

- Guarantee the right to citizenship to children born in the Dominican Republic or who immigrated with their parents whom existence does not appear in any official records, to avoid the risk of statelessness. 

During a press conference at the headquarters of World Vision, in Dominican Republic, the organization have committed to work with families and governments in order to make sure that the rights of children are guaranteed during this process. 

David Coates/National Director World Vision República Dominicana

John Hasse/National Director World Vision Haiti 

Media Contact 

Naivi Frias, Communications Manager, World Vision Dominican Republic / Email: naivi_frias@wvi-org / phone: 809-501-9021 / http://www.worldvision.org.do

Jean-Wickens Merone, Communications Manager / World Vision Haiti / Email: jean-wickens_merone@wvi.org / phone: 509 34 54 0454 / http://www.wvi.org/haiti