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Haitian-Born Dominican Murdered In DR

In June, JET reported the story of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian immigrants facing deportation from the only home they’ve ever known.

More than 100,000 citizens of the Dominican Republic were stripped of their citizenship, and faced with swift deadlines to prevent themselves from becoming stateless.

Until now, mainstream media has remained relatively quiet about the happenings in the DR, but the problem hasn’t gone away.

In fact, it’s gotten worse.

Arian Terrill is a humanitarian aid worker based in the poorer barrios of Santo Domingo and Puerta Plata. The areas are the primary hubs of Haitian immigrants in the DR.

He told us that a Haitian Immigrant in the community of Hatillo Palma was killed by a mob with machetes on Aug. 19. He was accused of sexually assaulting a Dominican woman. Reportedly, his house and business was also burned to the ground.

“The larger significance of this and events like it, (the occasional lynching or house burning, or threats of such), is that it was sufficient to strike fear into the entire local Haitian and Dominican-Haitian population,” Terrill said. “[People] are now abandoning the town of Hatillo Palma and its environs in droves with all of their things packed onto pick-up trucks.”

Hatillo Palma, located in the province of Montecristi, is an agricultural community of about 6,000-8,000 Haitian immigrants and their descendants who primarily work in sugar cane, rice and with goats.

Terrill says that local media is reporting that almost the entire community has left in fear over the three days following the murder. As little as a few hundred still remain.

“Of course, this larger group of folks will be classified as “voluntary” or “self” deportations, because they “chose” to leave, even though it was under credibly perceived threat of violence,” said Terrill. “So there is definitely a plausible case to be made for this possibly constituting a case of forced displacement.”

June 16, 2015 marked the deadline for Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent to register as citizens. Those who were unable to register, either due to not having the correct documentation or an inability to get to the proper centers in time, were legally subject to summary detention and deportation after that date.

For more information on how Law 169-14 is affecting the lives of those of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, click here.