Renovated Police Base Opens on Haitian-Dominican Border
Port-au-Prince — Every week, more than 100,000 border Haitians travel to the Dominican Republic irregularly for petty trade activities. Every month, more than 10,000 Haitians are deported or repatriated from the Dominican Republic, several thousand of whom are in a vulnerable situation. In addition, according to the Haitian government, the country loses USD 200 million to USD 400 million a year due to contraband on the border.
The cross-border dimension of migration requires an integrated response at the national, binational and international levels. In order to accompany and reinforce the initiatives of the Haitian Government at the border, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) — in coordination with its United Nations partners and the National Haitian Police (PNH) — organized an official inauguration ceremony for the newly-renovated Morne Casse base.
The renovated base, formerly a UN peacekeeping compound, is a dormitory and operational space from which the border police can launch its mission to better secure the Haitian-Dominican border, protect migrants and refer vulnerable migrants to partners for assistance. In 2018, for example, more than 510 unaccompanied children were recovered and transferred to the IOM Border Resource Centre near Morne Casse by the Haitian Border Police (POLIFRONT).
This inauguration ceremony is part of the Border Police strengthening project (POLIFRONT) in the Northeast Department of Haiti funded by Global Affairs Canada and the United States Embassy in Haiti.
During the official ceremony in Morne Casse, the Director General of the PNH was accompanied by the Director of POLIFRONT, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Haiti, the Police Commissioner of MINUJUSTH, the IOM Chief of Mission, the Ambassador of the United States in Haiti, the Chief of Cooperation of the Embassy of Canada in Haiti and a Representative of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti.
For the United States, Ambassador Michele J. Sison said: “The United States works closely with Haiti to combat transnational crime. Since it was first deployed in January 2018, POLIFRONT has strengthened Haiti’s effort to fight against the trafficking in persons, seized contraband, and reduced other forms of illicit trafficking.”
"This structure, renovated after the departure of MINUSTAH troops in 2017 with the support of the United States and Canadian embassies, has enabled POLIFRONT officers to work under the best conditions to carry out their mission since January 2018,” added Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Carlos Rojas-Arbulu, Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, added: "Thanks to this project, smugglers have been arrested, minors have been referred to the Ouanaminthe CRF and several million US dollars in smuggled goods have been seized at the border. It is essential to support the officers of the Polifront and to continue to build their capacity so that they can help the most vulnerable migrants at the border. Canada is proud to support this initiative and congratulates all those involved in making the border a safe and secure place for all."
IOM Haiti Chief of Mission, Giuseppe Loprete underscored the importance of this event: “The Polifront was created by the joint effort of MINUSTAH then MINUJUSTH and IOM. When the base was donated to the police, the U.S. and Canadian Governments joined us to rehabilitate it,” he said. “Now Morne Casse accommodates over 100 Polifront officers who are deployed daily to the North-East border for counter-trafficking and anti-smuggling activities, with excellent results so far.”
SRSG La Lime emphasized, “It is important to accelerate the deployment of POLIFRONT women and men in areas close to the country's other major border crossings — Anse-à-Pitres, Belladère, and Malpasse — because the work of this HNP unit is essential to the development of Haiti and its economy.”
For more information please contact Emily Bauman at IOM Haiti, Email: [email protected]