Bartlett Urges CARICOM to Use Diplomacy in Addressing DOM Rep/ Haiti Immigration Row

Release Date: 
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 18:30

Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Mr.  Edmund Bartlett, while decrying the move by the Dominican Republic to remove Haitians, including those born in the Dominican republic, is urging CARICOM to make diplomacy it's priority in responding to the situation.

Mr. Bartlett said: "The international community has made tremendous strides in establishing protocols and conventions regarding the treatment of migrants in a foreign country.  One readily appreciates and identifies with the outcry and widespread condemnation that come in the wake of the Dominican Republic's treatment of Haitians and people of Haitian descent living in that country.  What is required now more than ever in addressing the situation is diplomacy on the part of CARICOM. "

The Opposition Spokesman said: "I am not convinced, in light of what is unfolding in the Dominican Republic, that overly bullish or hard line positions represent the best approach to resolving the matter.   If anything, bullish responses and hard line positions by CARICOM, like those being suggested in various quarters, may only serve to intensify hostilities and bring us no closer to a timely and effective resolution of the immigration row involving the Dominican Republic and Haitians."

Mr.  Bartlett says diplomacy should be the first resort and before any other measure is contemplated,  should be vigorously pursed.  Mr.  Bartlett says CARICOM should use its regional clout to mobilize support for a diplomatic approach and seek the United Nations' (UN) intervention, in light of it's vast institutional expertise and experience in resolving disputes related to migration, nationality and the rights of foreigners in a host country.

Mr.  Bartlett said: "The imminent deportation of Haitians is unacceptable and would be a serious blot against the Dominican Republic on several fronts.   What is urgently required is an amnesty period where action against the Haitians is suspended while diplomatic engagement is allowed to run it's course. In the long run,  it is important that a clear mechanism for the documentation and identification of Haitians is established, and overseen by the UN through its Commission on Migration.  This will allow for Haitians at home and abroad to be appropriately accounted for and given an opportunity to lead productive lives in their native land and elsewhere."

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