Violations of the human rights of Haitians living and working in the Dominican Republic
Action alert on the occasion of President Fernandez's official visit to the UK
H.E. Mr Anibal de Castro,
Embassy of the Dominican Republic,
139 Inverness Terrace,
London W2 6JF
16 March 2006
I am writing to express my grave concern for the well-being of Haitians working in the Dominican Republic who remain vulnerable to unwarranted mob aggression and basic violations of their human rights.
Media reports state that, on 7 March 2006, two Haitians were attacked and set on fire by a mob seeking revenge following the murder of the mayor of Las Matas de Farfan in the province of San Juan de la Maguana. Suffering severe burns over 70% of their bodies, they were hospitalised in critical condition. One of them, Jako Medina, has subsequently died, while the other hovers near death. Dominican troops have reportedly taken control of the town, and restored some calm. However, not one member of the lynch mob has yet been apprehended.
The mayor's brutal murder is unjustifiable. And so are revenge attacks and mob lynching. Worse still, according to the local authorities, the two Haitians had nothing at all to do with the mayor's murder.
I urge a prompt and thorough investigation into these tragic events, so that the victims can find justice.
As you know, this is just the latest in a string of incidents over the last year in which mobs have attacked Haitians and Dominico-Haitians. I refer in particular to the reports of 6 June 2005 stating that two Haitians were beheaded in Hatillo de Palma; of 16 August 2005 stating that four Haitians were tied up, sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire in Santo Domingo (three of them died as a result of their injuries); of 16 September 2005 stating that a mob killed four Haitians and Dominico-Haitians in Higuey; and of early December 2005 stating that 10 Haitians were killed during mob violence in Villa Trina.
Of the utmost concern is the fact that these horrendous incidents took place in the context of prejudicial and alarmist statements by public officials in the Dominican Republic. Remarks that can only be described as 'anti-Haitian' have contributed to a climate of xenophobia against Haitians and Dominico-Haitians.
I urge your government to make a clear, unequivocal and well-publicised statement denouncing the violations of the human rights of Haitians living and working in the Dominican Republic.
In addition, I believe the Dominican government needs to take further steps in view of the seriousness of the situation. I hope you can assure me that your government will reprimand public officials who make statements inciting hatred or xenophobia regarding the Haitian and Dominico-Haitian population, and that it will take steps to guarantee and protect the right of civil society organisations working to defend the human rights of all communities in the Dominican Republic.
Haiti Support Group
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