Ethnic Cleansingin the Dominican Republic

Sometime very soon there could be an ethnic cleansing of about 200,000 Haitians taking place in the Dominican Republic. The island “Hispaniola” bearing neighbor countries Haiti and the DR is located just over two hours south of Miami by plane.

The DR has a long history of prejudice against the dark-skinned Haitians and it seems those years of discrimination are finally coming to fruition as tensions rise.

Haitian sugar cane workers rally in front of the Haitian embassy demanding the Haitian passports needed to regularize their migration status in the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo on June 1, 2015.  AFP PHOTO/Erika SANTELICES        (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)

The discrimination roots from a refusal to treat people of Haitian decent who were born in the DR as citizens, and instead  treat them as Haitian migrants – which is to say not well. A key point in the spiraling status of Dominican Haitians in the DR was the Parsley Massacre in 1937 when Dictator Rafael Trujillo slaughtered “tens of thousands” of Haitians.

More recently, in 2005 the government stopped giving copies of birth certificates to people of Haitians born in the DR. It was recognized as a human rights violation and although partially amended, the problem is still not totally solved.

In 2013, bigotry against Dominican Haitians was again legislated: making native birth insufficient for citizenship. To earn citizenship, the government of the DR required a process decried as too lengthy and complicated.

On Thursday the DR’s immigration agency may begin patrolling targeted neighborhoods and rounding up unregistered Haitians or – many Dominicans and human rights advocates fear – anyone dark enough to be Haitian, and deporting them.

There seems to be inconsistency with other agencies of government who claimed no such deportations would take place after the deadline for registration Wednesday night. Still, buses and trucks are at the ready to begin shipping Haitians out.

Many Dominican Haitians dread mass deportation to an unfamiliar country. Unfortunately for them, there have already been seven deportation centers opened on the Haitian border according to the Daily Kos.

The imminent planned deportation has been criticized by the US State Department as a violation of the U.N. charter concerning human rights.