WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

18 Mar 2021 | Joint Statement

Concern Over Initiative to Build a Border Wall between the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Letter to Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic (Original Spanish)

We, the undersigned civil society organizations and human rights defenders in the Americas, hereby express our concern for your recent pronouncement last Saturday, February 27, 2021, before the National Assembly, regarding the initiative to build a double perimeter fence between the Dominican Republic and Haiti to counteract irregular Haitian migration.

Although the various economic, social and humanitarian problems, exacerbated by the recurrent political crisis in Haiti have had a great impact on human mobility in the Dominican Republic, the eventual solutions to the migratory challenges adopted by the Dominican State must respect the fundamental rights of human beings, in particular, Haitian migrants and their descendants.

We consider that measures strictly anchored in the paradigm of “national security” and lacking a rights-based approach, such as the construction of walls, generate and/or aggravate the problems related to migration, contrary to providing real, respectful, just, and dignified solutions. Among other problems, the construction of the aforementioned fence could:

  • Aggravate situations of corruption and transnational organized crime on the border,
  • Increase illegal migrant smuggling and human trafficking, since crossing the border will become more difficult,
  • Exacerbate discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent,
  • Increase family poverty levels, whose sources of income and even survival depend on their activities on the other side of the border,
  • Legitimize hate speech and violence by nationalist and even extremist groups,
  • Generate more xenophobic disinformation, both in the press of both countries and in social networks.

Now more than ever, a greater sense of Latin American and Caribbean integration is required in the countries of the region, based on co-responsibility, cooperation, fraternity, and solidarity among peoples. In this sense, the construction of a fence is unacceptable in our region.

On the contrary, States must take measures that respect and protect the fundamental rights of all persons without any discrimination on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, economic position, birth or any other social condition. Furthermore, this constitutes an imperative principle of the contemporary international order materialized in international protection commitments, which has deep roots in our shared history as free and sovereign peoples of the American continent.

This is all the more so in the critical times in which we live, which remind us of our fundamental condition as humanity and teach us the value of solidarity, the social protection of all, and the need to find common solutions.

Therefore, Mr. President, we respectfully call on you to rethink this proposal for a wall between the two countries, and rather, to use the substantial resources involved in a project of this nature to implement alternative actions with a rights-based approach that promote opportunities for integration and development for the benefit of Dominicans and Haitians located in the border area and a regular, more humane and safe migration.


*Full list of signing organizations and individuals available in the letter.