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Human rights group condemns Haitian deportation to chaos

Human Rights Watch published a report Thursday calling for the U.S. to stop deporting Haitians back to their homeland.

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Human rights group condemns Haitian deportation to chaos

They called it "unconscionable" as well as warning that they are putting lives at risk.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 25700 people were deported to Haiti between January 2021 and February 2022. 79% of these individuals were expelled by the U.S.

Cesar Munoz (senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch, a non-profit organization based in New York), stated that "Haitians, and their children, many of them born abroad, are being sent back to a country in turmoil."

The turmoil in Haiti has intensified in the last year. Inflation, kidnappings, and violence have risen as the country attempts to recover from President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August that killed more than 2,200 and damaged or destroyed tens of thousands. In a country with more than 11million people, 60% earn less than $2 per day, jobs have also become scarcer.

Additionally, gangs are becoming more powerful in a political climate of instability. According to the United Nations Security Council, reported kidnappings have risen by 180% and murders by 17% over the past year. Gang violence has caused the loss of homes for around 19,000 people. Many are still living in unsanitary temporary shelters.

Cassandra Petit (39), a mother of two, said that Port-au-Prince was now hell. Her partner was murdered last year after he returned to their home where they fled gang violence and attempted to retrieve school backpacks and clothes for their children. "He never returned."

She now lives with her cousin, who is her ex-partner. She tries to make some extra money selling used clothes but it's not every day.

She said, "When I return, I don’t know what the children will eat in dinner." "I cry before I get to the house.

Recently, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization reported that 4.5 million Haitians need urgent assistance due to severe food shortages.

Munoz stated that no one should deport Haitians if they are not comfortable in such conditions.

He stated that it was unconscionable for any government to send people to Haiti when there is such a decline in security and a higher risk to all life and property.

He also condemned Title 42, a law governing public health that was created under Donald Trump. The administration of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden used Title 42 to expel Haitians quickly and fly them back to their homeland. This prevents them from seeking asylum in the U.S. This law has led to the deportation of most of the Haitian migrants who were detained at the U.S. Mexico border in Texas in recent months.

Munoz noted that in Haiti there is no system to help or track deportees. He also pointed out that members of civil society have informed Human Rights Watch that deportees could be kidnapped if they believe that they have relatives or money for travel.

Haiti's already limited resources are being put under greater strain by the thousands of deportees who have arrived. Many of them had fled the country many years ago to escape an economic crisis. This was exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000. Many of these people had lived in Brazil and Chile before they tried to get to the United States because the pandemic was over.

Jertha Marie-Paul (61), is one of those trying to survive Haiti’s worsening situation. She lived nearly 50 years in Martissant, Port-au-Prince -- the center for warring gangs -- but was forced to leave because of the violence. Now, she lives at a friend's home and sleeps on a thin foam mattress in a corner.

She said that she is living in conditions she's never experienced before and that she has to purchase buckets of water each for 10 gourdes (9 U.S. Cents) each, as the utilities aren't working. "Nothing is easy here."


 

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