Statement of concern regarding implementation of migration law by Dominican government

21 June 2013

In its public statement of May 13, 2013 Fairtrade International expressed concern about flaws in the new immigration legislation of the Dominican Republic that could cause harm to workers in the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent, including those working on Fairtrade certified farms and plantations.

Essentially, the idea to create a circular migration of workers that have lived in the Dominican Republic for many years and require their deportation to Haiti prior to re-entry into the Dominican Republic we viewed as a high risk to adverse human rights impact. The immigration law foresees a regularization plan for migrants who have settled in the Dominican Republic, but no such plan has yet been released.

The most recent developments in the implementation of the law further reduce our confidence that the dignity and human rights of migrants in the Dominican Republic are adequately protected by its administration. On June 12, 2013 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States, condemned the death of a Haitian migrant and injuries to his family following a violent attempt of Dominican authorities to remove the family from the country (see full article).

Apart from this tragedy, it is disconcerting that the responsible government official has dismissed the statement of the Inter-American Commission as unwelcome. We echo the call of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Dominican government and ask for a similar assurance that fundamental human rights and relevant conventions are central to the government’s efforts to control migration.

Fairtrade International speaks out on these matters as they directly affect the interests of workers on Fairtrade farms, as well as other workers who may not be able to let their voice be heard. We remain available to the Dominican government and all relevant stakeholders for collaboration with the above-noted principles in mind.

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