• The Dominican Republic decided to extend for one year the residence permit of Haitian migrants who had been registered as part of the National Program of Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE)
• The food security situation tends to improve in the coming months
• Recent showers occurred during July caused flooding in the municipalities of West department, affecting more than 5,000 families
• Cholera outbreaks recorded in several communes. About 20 municipalities are on red alert
Binational situation: humanitarian actors maintain border response activities
The situation at the border remains fragile
The authorities of the Dominican Republic (DR) had given the deadline of 18th July for people of Haitian origin, who benefited from a residence permit for one year as part of the National Program of Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE), to regularize their status. To renew this permit, they must pay the equivalent to 300 US dollars and have a valid Haitian passport. With the deadline closing by, it was evident that the majority of the more than 130 thousand people that had initially been registered were not able to regularize their status. Faced with the growing concern of massive return movements towards Haiti, the Dominican authorities have decided for the automatic extension of all temporary residence permits for one year.
Therefore, the movements along the border with DR did not increased substantially as it was feared by the humanitarian actors engaged in the response. However, returns continue at a rate of 600 per month, in average, on all official ports of entry and unofficial monitored by IOM staff and partners, including UN agencies and NGOs. So far, more than 131,000 people, who were interviewed on a voluntary basis, were registered crossing the border towards Haiti.
There are still protection issues
Despite the absence of a sudden increase in arrivals, the situation of returnees and deportees or continues to present significant protection risks. For example, the number of unaccompanied minors remains worrying. 1,805 allegedly unaccompanied minors were registered since the beginning of the border surveillance in July 2015, until 28 July 2016. In addition, 34.8 percent of the registered returnees are women and girls. Steps have been taken by some partners, such as UNICEF, to accommodate these people at best.
The status of returnees and deportees also remains a concern for humanitarian actors.
Thus, IOM continues the referrals of those born in the Dominican Republic to UNHCR to check their status and to determine whether they are of concern for the mandate of this UN agency. So far, UNHCR has received IOM 6,029 families with one or more persons born in the Dominican Republic and has already conducted the interview and screening of 1,272 families, including 961 families that fall under the mandate of UNHCR.
Towards better coordination
Alongside protection issues, cross-cutting issues (health, immigration, education, economic opportunity) remain along the border are and have a significant impact on binational migration crisis. To address them, it is essential to have a better coordination between state actors in both countries, NGOs, UN agencies and civil society. The involvement of the authorities is necessary to strengthen collaboration and coordination between the various state entities and structures at the border.
The consideration of community responses that exist in some areas also need to be capitalized and strengthened. To do this, humanitarian actors are encouraged to support local initiatives that can help to solve these cross-cutting issues, engage people in Haiti with job opportunities and facilitating access to internal documentation (identity card, extract of act of birth).
It is in this context that the United Nations country teams from Dominican Republic and Haiti met in early July 2016 to improve the coordination of their actions on the binational issue. Both teams used the opportunity to find joint solutions to humanitarian issues, protection, land use, health, education and possible barriers to rights of people living in border areas. In addition, they pledged to follow jointly the situation and to organize missions and regular consultations on the issue.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.