IOM Monitors Migrant Flows on Haiti - Dominican Republic Border

Posted: 
08/11/15

Haiti - IOM is continuing to monitor migrant flows on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The monitoring started on 17 June, following the expiration of the registration component of the National Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE in Spanish) in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican authorities reported on 6 August that over 66,000 Haitian migrants have spontaneously returned to their country of origin; many used free transportation provided by the Dominican authorities.

Between 16 June and 6 August 2015, IOM field teams interviewed 1,659 families (4,628 individuals), who reported having recently crossed the border from the Dominican Republic into Haiti.

Some 81.2 per cent (3,758 people) said they had spontaneously returned to Haiti, while 18.8 per cent (870 people) said that they had been forcibly returned by the authorities. Some 82.0 per cent (3,794 individuals) did not have any type of documentation.

“We need further analysis of the data collected to understand which Dominican legal category these alleged forced returns fall under,” said IOM Dominican Republic Chief of Mission Jorge Baca. “The Dominican authorities have assured IOM that deportations have not been resumed.”

Among the people crossing the border, IOM teams identified 25 presumed unaccompanied children. These cases were referred to the relevant government authorities for appropriate care and status determination.

In cooperation with UNHCR, UNICEF and OHCHR, IOM has trained a network of 132 border enumerators on fundamentals of data collection, screening, detection and referral of specific protection cases. The majority of them have already been deployed to the field. This effort aims to increase the scope of data collection carried out so far, to ensure timely collection of screening forms at all border crossing points, both official and unofficial.

Since June, four spontaneous settlements have sprung up in the commune of Anse-à-Pitres, the southernmost of the four official border crossing points located across from the Dominican town of Pedernales. These settlements lack most essential services and living conditions are harsh.

The first spontaneous settlements to emerge were Tête à l’Eau, which now hosts an estimated 102 families, and Parc Cadeau, currently hosting approximately 67 families. In recent weeks, two new settlements, known as Fonds Jeannette and Savanne Galata, have sprung up in the area; the estimated populations have already reached 70 and 45 households, respectively. IOM staff are using drone-captured aerial images to monitor the evolution in the number of makeshift shelters for each settlement.

In the locality of Fond Parisien, near the Malpasse border, dozens of families returning from the Dominican Republic have been temporarily hosted at the Fond Bayard School, where they are being assisted by Jesuit Migrant Services and local organizations.

For further information please contact Ilaria Lanzoni at IOM Haiti, Tel: +509 370 250 66, Email: ilanzoni@iom.int or Alicia Sangro at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel: +809 688 8174, Email: asangro@iom.int

Saint Soi and his family at the Fond Bayard school in Fond Parisien near the Malpasse border after returning from the Dominican Republic. © IOM/Ilaria Lanzoni 2015