Haitian workers repatriated from Central Barahona Sugar Consortium plantations

In a blatant disregard of human rights, several hundred repatriated Haitian seasonal workers were abandoned at the Haitian Customs Office in the Dominican Republic in May. Human rights agency Siské Jano Border Network (SJBN) investigated and discovered not one of the workers employed as sugarcane cutters for Barahona Sugar Mill Consortium (BSMC) possessed a visa, required to work in the Dominican Republic (DR) where BSMC is located.

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The Haitian Directorate General of Immigration (DGI) is responsible for issuing visas, but apparently made concessions to BSMC, so BSMC could avoid the cost of providing workers' documentation. And it seems DGI didn't want to absorb the cost either. The Haitian Customs Office could not process the repatriates without a record of their immigration status. But they are also at fault for not alerting the DGM, according to that office.

SJBN has concluded BSMC, DGI, and DGM are all complicit and they are also holding the DR Labor Migration Unit (LMU) responsible too. The lack of coordination between BSMC, DGI, DGM, and DR LMU is to blame for human rights abuses suffered by repatriated sugarcane workers because of non-documentation of their immigration status.

The violation is a good example of why the government of Haiti (GOH) is disorganized and ineffective. Do they need both DGI and DGM? Or a Temporary Electoral Council and a Permanent one? The GOH is an unwieldy machine, hard to control, subject to human rights abuses in one form or another. The Haitian people deserve better.

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Read more: immigration, Deportation, Dominican Republic, Deported People, Central Barahona, International

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