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No Ethnic Cleansing in the Caribbean

DR-protest

Picket of the Embassy of the Dominican Republic


Press release from Caribbean Labour Solidarity

2nd December 2013 7pm

On Monday 2nd December a small but lively group picketed the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in London to protest at the decision of the high court of the Dominican Republic to strip citizenship from over 200,000 of its citizens of Haitian decent. The ruling means that anyone born after 1929 to Haitian families will face deportation. Both countries share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and over the centuries many families have moved between the two nations. Now tens of thousands of Dominican families face the threat of deportation and may be forced to move to a country that is not their birthplace and has a totally different language and culture. This unfair and inhumane treatment needs to be stopped.

There has been an outcry throughout the Caribbean. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has condemned this abhorrent and discriminatory ruling and has suspended consideration of the request by the Dominican Republic for membership. However, this racist decision is not well known outside the region and this picket, called by Caribbean Labour Solidarity (CLS) and supported by Global Women’s Strike and the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, is the first protest in Europe.
Luke Daniels, President of CLS, said:

“Unless the Dominican Republic quickly reverses this decision, we intend to escalate our protests and spread the word of this outrage far and wide. We call upon CARICOM and the other nations of the region to keep up the pressure.”

For Haiti, the poorest Nation in the Latin American and Caribbean Region, dealing with such an influx of persons will be impossible to manage and this would lead to even greater poverty, homelessness and other challenges for the refugees and people of Haiti. If thousands are forced back to Haiti, the situation will be all the more life-threatening since Haitians are still struggling to cope with the effects of the earthquake of 2010. As in all disaster and refugee situations, women and children will be the hardest hit.

It would do us well to recall that the last time there was a major governmental crack-down against people of Haitian heritage in the Dominican Republic, during the 1937 “Parsley Massacre” by the forces of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo, over 20,000 men, women and children were rounded up, then beaten or hacked to death for just being Haitian. It is scandalous that the Dominican court has chosen to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the 1937 massacre by stripping Dominican-born men, women, and children of Haitian descent of their citizenship, rendering them not only stateless but unable to attend school or make a living while becoming even more vulnerable to all kinds of hostilities including, increasingly, physical violence.
The Dominican Republic depends heavily on tourism and would be hard hit by a boycott.

Steve Cushion for Caribbean Labour Solidarity – s.cushion23@gmail.com
Luke Daniels, President of CLS – lukedaniels276@btinternet.com

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