As news of the refugee crisis in Europe has dominated the news these past few months, the Caribbean has been facing a refugee crisis of its own. Unfortunately, this crisis is one that has gone largely unnoticed and it needs to be revealed. Since 2015, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent have been deported from the Dominican Republic into Haiti. However, in many cases the Haitian government is not accepting the deportees as Haitian citizens. As a result, these individuals are being rendered stateless and lack a place to call home.
As of late, one of the ways in which the community has been marginalized by the Dominican government is through the issuance of migratory identification cards which mislabel Dominican-born individuals of Haitian descent as having been born in Haiti. As seen in this image submitted to us by a concerned community member, despite having a birth certificate that says they were born in the Dominican Republic, ID cards issued say they were born in Haiti. This misidentification could provide the Dominican government with “justification” to deport individuals from the country even though they have Domincan birth certificates.
Therefore, on the island, we have redoubled our efforts in helping our community partner OASPKA to become better organized to confront these challenges. We have done so by helping the 9 community leaders develop a strong communication network through which they can share in real-time what is occurring within their respective communities. This has empowered them to begin reporting on injustices that their communities are experiencing bi-nationally which has allowed us to help them identify possible solutions to address these issues. This in turn has initiated the community organizing process which is necessary to prepare the various communities for relocation to the land trust.
Beyond the island, we have expanded by adding two new members to our board of directors and are currently interviewing a 7th and final member to our team. The people who have joined us bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the group and have actively helped the organization move closer to our mission of developing an effective community land trust in Haiti.
So now you know where we stand, but how can you help? Let’s make some noise about the ongoing citizenship and migration crisis on the island! Many are still unaware of the situation and by shedding light on the matter we can help empower the disenfranchised. You can help our cause by joining our social media campaign as we raise awareness on the current situation. As mentioned in our first newsletter, we at the Haitian Community Land Trust are currently working to raise $50,000 in order to start phase 1 of our project, which entails purchasing initial parcels of land to be farmed as well as assisting the first group of families to relocate to the the property. By helping us in raising these funds, you will be contributing to an effort to provide hundreds of Haitian families that have been affected by this crisis with the opportunity to pursue safe and productive lives in Haiti. A donation of any amount will be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your support and contribution to this effort.
Rebecca, Jean-Claude, Jean-Pierre, Perpétua, Charitable, Jheison and James
The Haitian Community Land Trust Team