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9630: Dominican scholars joined the Batey Relief Alliance's Board of Directors (fwd)

From: bateyrelief@mindspring.com

Press Release

Ulrick Gaillard, Executive Director
bateyrelief@mindspring.com or (917) 627-5026

Prominent Dominican scholars joined Batey Relief Alliance’s Board of

At its annual board meeting held in New York recently, the U.S.-based
humanitarian organization, the Batey Relief Alliance [BRA] welcomed two new
members on its Board of Directors: Dr. Ruben Silie and Jacqueline J.
Polanco, J.D., Ph.D.

Last February 28th, 2001, BRA held its first International Conference at the
United Nations exposing the miserable conditions under which thousands of
Haitian migrant cane cutters and Dominicans of Haitian origin live and work
in the bateys – and the racial discrimination they continue facing. One of
the panelists was Dr. Silie who made a presentation on the socio-economic
ills facing the impoverished population in the Dominican Republic.  Dr.
Polanco moderated the event with Haitian author Edwidge Danticat.  “We are
indeed proud of having these two well-respected scholars on our Board. Their
vast knowledge on the issue of the batey – and understanding of the
political framework involved will certainly help advance our humanitarian
cause, “ said BRA’s Executive Director, Ulrick Gaillard.

Dr. Polanco is currently an associate professor at John Jay College of
Criminal Justice.  She lectures frequently at conferences and universities
in Europe and Latin America on issues of Dominican political parties, women’
s sexual and racial minorities rights, etc.  Dr. Silie is the Executive
Director of the Dominican-based Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias
Sociales (FLACSO).  He is an expert on Haitian and bi-lateral matters
involving the Dominican Republic and Haiti. “…BRA’s work helps bring
socio-economic relief to the batey population while bring Haiti and the
Dominican Republic closer,” said Dr. Silie.

Children born of undocumented Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic are
denied the country’s citizenship – and thus hindering their full human
development potentials.  Their parents are continuously being repatriated
without hope for a future in Haiti.  Others lose their lives under
questionable circumstances as they cross the Haitian/Dominican borders in
search of opportunities.  “The situation in most bateys is so tragic that
inhabitants continually face serious health problems.  HIV/AIDS, for
example, is a serious matter that is not yet seriously addressed.  All that
is needed to contribute to the rapid spread of the disease is found in the
bateys – the lack of health care, the lack of education, and the lack of
economic opportunities,” said Gaillard.

The labor camps known as bateys are made typically of rundown state quarters
or/and tiny shacks built with mud and split cane with no electricity, sewage
systems, sanitation facilities, running water, or trash collections. “BRA is
actively involved in saving lives by supporting its local member
organizations in training, technical and research assistance - volunteers –
drugs and medical supplies needed to serve the basic health needs of their
target batey population,” added Gaillard. For more donations and
information, please visit BRA’s website at www.bateyrelief.org or call
Ulrick Gaillard at (917) 627-5026.

Ulrick Gaillard, Executive Director
P.O. Box 300565, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230
(917) 627-5026 or at bateyrelief@mindspring.com.
Maria Virtudes Berroa, Regional Director
Apartado Postal 5085, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom.
(809) 383-1547 or at bra.dominicana@mindspring.com