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#995: Deported Haitians allege brutality by Dominicans (fwd)


Deported Haitians allege brutality by Dominicans                      
06:33 p.m Nov 17, 1999 Eastern By Jennifer Bauduy 

MALPASSE, Haiti, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Ossaj Noel had lived in the
Dominican Republic for seven years until last week when armed soldiers
approached him on the street, grabbed him and  forced him onto a truck. 
Without giving Noel a chance to gather possessions or contact his
family, the soldiers crowded the truck with dozens more  Haitian
immigrants, sped over the border and dumped Noel and the others in the
muddy Haitian border town of Malpasse. The  Haitians waited several days
to begin new lives, with nothing, in their homeland. ``I heard that they
were taking people so I didn't go out. But then I went out one day to
visit my brother. Soldiers came up to  me and said, 'Get in.' They
didn't care if you had a wife or children at home. They don't want to
hear any of that. Haitians are like animals to them.'' Haitian
government officials said on Wednesday that more than  4,000 Haitian
immigrants have been summarily deported by the Dominican Republic in
just two weeks. The Dominican government recently stepped up the
deportation of Haitians in response to an Oct. 30 Organisation of
American  States report condemning it for its systematic violation of
the  human rights of Haitian migrants.  Haiti and the Dominican Republic
share the Caribbean island  Hispaniola. For generations immigrants from
impoverished Haiti   have sought work in the better-off Dominican
Republic, providing a needed workforce for its sugar, coffee and        
construction industries.  The two countries have a long history of
antipathy over treatment of the immigrants, after mass deportations and
the infamous 1930s mass murder of Haitians ordered by Dominican      
dictator Rafael Trujillo. Haitian President Rene Preval responded
angrily to the latest deportations. ``These expulsions must be carried
out in conformity with  international norms,'' he said on Sunday before
leaving to attend  the Ibero-American Summit in Cuba. Preval said his
government had sent an official protest to the     Dominican government. 


 President Lionel Fernandez during the summit in Havana, an  official at
the Dominican embassy in Haiti said.   Deported Haitians said they were
reeling from leaving work and  families, trips in overcrowded trucks and
worse.   Noel, and Wilber St. Imis, a 20-year resident of the Dominican
 Republic from the same truck, said they had watched in horror  as
Dominican soldiers beat a Haitian man to death.  ``He wanted to go get
his things. The Dominican soldier just beat him and beat him,'' Noel
said. ``He tried to get away. When he ran, they caught him, they       
handcuffed his wrists. They took dirty water, dog excrement and       
dumped it on him. They poured mud on him. They kept beating him with the
butt of their rifles. When he was dead they dug a  hole along the road
and stuffed him in it,'' Noel said. The men did not know the man they
said was killed and buried, nor another Haitian they said soldiers had
also beaten. Dominican officials in Haiti said they preferred not to
comment  on allegations of brutality against Haitians while discussions
  between the two governments were in progress. The refugees said they
felt not only abused by Dominicans but  abandoned by Haitian
authorities.  Most had no money for food or -- for those who had a place
to go in Haiti -- carfare. There is no temporary camp or other   
structure set up by Haitian authorities to greet them. We have no
emergency budget. Each time something like this  happens we have to wait
for the government to release funds,''  said Carol Joseph, director of
the Haitian Office of National Migration (ONM).  On Monday Haitian Prime
Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis said the government had earmarked
$90,000 for refugee relief. ``As soon as the money is released we can do
something,''  Joseph said.