Family Action Network Movement (FANM) Strongly Condemns Dominican Republic’s Border Closure with Haiti, Calls for Immediate Action.
MIAMI, FL — Family Action Network Movement (FANM) expresses deep concerns and condemnation for the recent order issued by the Dominican Republic (D.R.) President Luis Abinader to close the Dominican Republic/Haiti border. FANM views this decision as an act of cruelty, and a troubling development that will significantly exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Haiti represents the D.R.’s third-largest business partner, with trade exceeding one billion dollars, much of which relies on the open border for commerce and the importation of essential aid; therefore, the border closure will hurt ordinary citizens on both sides of the border.
This disruptive border closure was justified by the Dominican President by the construction of a canal harnessing water from the Massacre River to address a prolonged drought in Haiti’s Maribaroux plain. However, Brian Concannon, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, IJDH, stressed that “even the D.R.’s technical officials have recognized that the diversion is legal under the relevant treaties and international law. The current water works in Haiti do not interfere with the existing irrigation diversions by the D.R., which are an order of magnitude higher than Haiti’s will be.”
FANM believes that addressing the drought is crucial, and that it needs to be resolved through bilateral dialogue, as Haitian Community Leaders in the Dominican Republic such as Father Edwin Paraison, of Fundación Zile, have called for. Mr. Paraison and international human rights experts have stressed the need for both nations to “follow the process outlined by the Joint Declaration of May 27, 2021 to reach a peaceful resolution of this dispute.”
FANM requests President Abinader to calibrate his response to the proposed canal to the prosperity and well-being of citizens on both sides of the border and to international law, rather than to cynical electoral calculations.
Marleine Bastien, FANM’s Executive Director, stressed the need to immediately reopen the border, stating “This decision occurs against the backdrop of a history of violence and mistreatment of Haitians both within the Dominican Republic and along the shared border, and of mass expulsions from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, by Dominican authorities, of people of Haitian origin, who face grave danger and uncertainty in Haiti.”
These expulsions are also in direct opposition to calls by UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi for Haiti’s neighbors to not deport, expel, or repatriate Haitian nationals back to Haiti, given Haiti’s current circumstances.
Finally, FANM insists on the humane treatment of all Haitians in the Dominican Republic and along the shared border. The Haitian population faces a critical challenge: the imperative to survive and establish sustainable resources, all while grappling with the governance of a state that exhibits complete unaccountability to its citizens and fails to address their pressing needs. In this context, it becomes evident that border walls, deportations, and border closures will not resolve these complex issues.
Family Action Network Movement (FANM) is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to the social, economic, financial and political empowerment of low to moderate-income families.