The 21st Century Politics and International law………..
As the world pays attention to Israel-Palestine conflict right here in the Caribbean there is a situation evocative of the “Gaza Conflict” absent the bombardment of buildings, firing of rockets and the use of Guns. But the inhumane deportation of the Haitian people some who never even knew a home in Haiti and born in the Dominican Republic are being uprooted from their homes and sent to a country they know little or nothing about. I say it is time for CARICOM to be more vehement in speaking out against the “DR – Haiti crisis” which were a corollary of horrendous immigration policies recently implemented by the Dominican Republic.
CARICOM are no strangers to standing on the side of what’s right regardless of the political and economic backlash. For instance, they toke a stance against the so called “imperialist” (the United States) actions against Venezuela. Also, they stand in solidarity with Cuba fighting against the U.S. Embargo and making their voices heard loudly in the halls of the international community. For instance, in 1972 it was Leaders such as; Michael Manley (Jamaica), Eric Williams (Trinidad & Tobago), Errol Barrow (Barbados) and Sir Shridath Surendranath (Guyana) whose overt diplomatic relations with Cuba amidst the “Cold War” that enfeebled the hemispheric Embargo placed on Cuba by the U.S.
Moreover, look at the recent push by CARICOM member States for Cuba’s inclusion to the America’s Summit (2015) in Panama. For instance, St Vincent and the Grenadines Min. of Foreign Affairs et al. Camillo Gonsalves; in the Americas Summit (2014) vehemently advocated for Cuba’s inclusion and full participation in the 2015 Americas Summit. Today, Cuba has diplomatic relations with 160 countries, fully participated in the Americas Summit (2015) and have now formally establish Diplomatic Relations with the United States.
International Law: (Sovereignty)
The Dominican Republic is a Sovereign nation state (Treaty of Westphalia, 1648) and have full jurisdiction to freely determine their country’s laws. However, the Dominican Republic is a signatory state party to Humanitarian Laws and International laws to which some may be binding. However, in the case in which those are not binding, it is important to remind the Dominican Republic and the international community of these negated international laws envisage universal protection and fairness for ALL. In this case, the Haitian people.
A recent investigative report by Al Jazeera suggested that an estimated 500,000 undocumented Haitians are to be deported from the Dominican Republic. This specter of mass deportation were the corollary of an immigration policy targeting Haitians and those who trace their roots to Haiti. Consequently, such a measure is not only a Humanitarian crisis, but, one that violates International Humanitarian Laws and International Laws. For instance, under the new DR immigration policy saw those of Haitian heritage born in the Dominican Republic were subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention and forced to relocate to Haiti. Thus, this goes against International Human Rights Laws such as; The Universal Declaration on Human Rights; Article (9) which speaks of “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”. Moreover, I will also include Article (15) which speaks of “Nationality and that no one shall be derived or denied the right of nationality”. In this case, the Dominican born who can trace their heritage back to Haiti, but, nonetheless were born in the Dominican Republic have the right to DR nationality.
In addition, I would also include articles (7) and (8) of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which speaks of; “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law and that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” We’ve noticed some were not given a fair hearing or “due process” upon being subjected to deportation.
Furthermore, the immigration policy is one which systematically targets the Haitian population in the Dominican Republic. In my book, this fits within the parameters of acts of Genocide and the mass deportation fits within acts of crimes against Humanity. Albeit, harsh description and may even sound far reaching let’s explore why such classifications…..Digression; the Dominican Republic is a State party to the Rome Statute the founding treaty which formally established the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court) in 2002. The ICC identifies for the purposes of exercising jurisdiction the most serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law; genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Currently, the ICC exercises jurisdiction over 3 of the four core crimes that is; Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War crimes.
Thus, the Dominican Republic systematically targeting the Haitian people by means of mass deportation falls within the parameters of Article (6) of the Rome statute which speaks of “Genocide”. Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as: “inter allia” Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. In my opinion, the horrendous mass deportation of people of Haitian descent (especially those born in Dominica) will cause serious mental harm to those Haitian people who knows nothing about Haiti…view on [Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group].
Moreover, Haiti is already finding it difficult to cope with the already approximately 10.3 million people living there. The country is still trying to recover from the 2010 earthquake, which cost the country somewhere $8 to $14 Billion (Inter-American Development bank, 2010). Today, Haiti is a country in which people have few jobs and tens of thousands of people live in “tent cities”. By all economic measure life is much better in the Dominican Republic, the average income in the Dominican Republic is 7x that of Haiti. Meanwhile, in the wake of the mass deportation of the Haitian people more and more people are entering a country that is struggling to feed and house the current citizens. Thus, I will put the Dominican Republic actions in the parameter of “Genocide”; under the category of “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
In closing, I will urge our CARICOM Leaders to do more than just speak out against this soon to be Humanitarian crisis (if not already), but, take pragmatic actions towards solving this matter. We’ve noticed some people have called on “Boycotting” the Government of the Dominican Republic, but, this will inadvertently hurt the Black Dominicans whom are of Haitian descent and work for low wages (especially in the Tourism sector). However, the recent enlistment of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Mon as a mediator in so far is a good step in the right direction. But I believe we should also hit the government of Dominican Republic with the Law and the spirit of solidarity.
#StopTheMassDeportation Emmanuel Quashie