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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