Above: the National Palace in the Dominican Republic
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti has recalled its Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Dr Fritz Cineas, it announced Monday.
The move came in response to a decision by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic that could revoke citizenship for several hundred thousand Haitians born in the Dominican Republic, according to Haiti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That decision found that children born in the country to foreign parents (“aliens in transit”) who came to the country after 1929 were not eligible for Dominican citizenship.
That could lead to the potential deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitians currently living in the country.
In its ruling, the court ordered the Central Electoral Board to conduct what it called a “thorough audit” of birth records since June 21, 1929 to identify those to whom the ruling would apply.
The move comes just a few months after an announcement in April by the Dominican Republic that it had offered to support a process to provide identity documents and provide temporary work visas for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “very concerned” by the court’s decision, and said it would set the position of the Haitian government “as soon as possible.”
The Ministry said Cineas had been recalled for “consultations.”
A government source told Caribbean Journal that the move was aimed to “better understand” the situation.
It’s the latest in a series of diplomatic and trade rows between the two neighbours on the island of Hispaniola.
Most recently, ties were strained following a decision by Haiti’s government to ban the import of poultry and poultry products from the Dominican Republic, citing a fear of bird flu. The Dominican Republic rejected the claims.
With that said, the two sides have worked together on a number of projects in recent years as well, including a major drive to promote reforestation and cooperation on counter-narcotics efforts.