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#1317: Candlelight Vigil at United Nations Headquarters in New York


Brooklyn, December 9.   On Friday, December 10, International Human Rights 
Day, the Justice Committee for Haitian-Dominicans and Haitians in the 
Dominican Republic will hold a 5 p.m. candlelight vigil at Ralph Bunche 
Plaza, in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, in 
solidarity with Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans facing mass deportation and 
gross violations of their human rights at the hand of the Dominican 

The Leonel Fernandez government reiterated this week in Santo Domingo its 
determination to resume with the brutal deportations begun earlier in 
November.  In less than two weeks, some 6,000 people were marched or driven 
to the border at gun point, without their meager belongings or the chance to 
say goodbye to their relatives.  Many families have been separated.  Among 
the deportees are hundreds of children and youth born in the Dominican 
Republic who do not speak Creole and had never been to Haiti.  

The Dominican police encouraged street mobs to attack Haitians and their 
children.  Deportees were robbed of money and belongings by Dominican 
soldiers.  Many women and young girls were raped by Dominican guards before 
their expulsion. Among the deportees were many senior citizens who worked all 
their lives in the Dominican Republic, and many amputees who lost a limb to 
the terrible conditions in the Dominican cane fields.

In 1937, in a similar anti-Haitian frenzy, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo 
ordered the massacre of over 30,000 Haitians.

International human rights organizations have criticized the recent 
deportations and the Fernandez government's persecution of blacks.  
Typically, Haitians are several shades darker than their Dominican 

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission, in late October, called on the 
Fernandez government to honor the Constitution which grants citizenship to 
all children born on Dominican soil.

There is an estimated 600,000 Haitians and 200,000 Dominican-born children of 
Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic.  Haitians and their children 
work in slave-like conditions in the Dominican sugar industry.  They also 
make up the largest percentage of workers in the construction industry.  

The Justice Committee for Haitian-Dominicans and Haitians in the Dominican 
Republic is a recently formed coalition of Haitian and Dominican activists in 
the New York area. On November 20, the Committee led a successful protest in 
front of the Dominican Consulate in Times Square, the same day that former 
president Joaquin Balaguer's party and a coterie of right-wing organizations 
were leading an anti-Haitian demonstration in Santo Domingo.

The Justice Committee calls for amnesty for all immigrant workers in the 
Dominican Republic; citizenship rights for Dominican-born children of Haitian 
immigrants; justice, human rights and  reparations for those facing