Voluntary departures reach 31,275; deadline is Monday, 6 July

  • The majority have left through the frontier pass in Dajabon
SANTO DOMINGO. As of yesterday, 31,275 persons of Haitian nationality had voluntarily left the country, according to the statistics registered by the Directorate General of Migration. Of this number, a few more than 1000 have done so taking advantage of the facilities granted by the Government through the Program of Voluntary Return, which began last 18 June and ends next Monday, 6 July. Starting on this day, they will begin a process of evaluation of the program, according to reports yesterday from the director general of Migration, Ruben Paulino Sem, although he did not specify if from that moment they will begin the repatriation process of illegals who have not accepted the National Plan of Normalization.

Questioned regarding this aspect, Paulino Sem limited himself to saying that on 6 July the 15 day period comes to an end, and starting then, the government will make its decision. Nonetheless, he pointed out that they are prepared to begin the process of repatriations, for which they have 2000 men trained by the Armed Forces and 150 Immigration Inspectors, who received training - he said - in human rights, international humanitarian law and the immigration laws.

As part of the protocol of action on which Migration is still working, it was established that the agents will go into the streets using non-lethal weapons, in order to avoid any bloodshed.

Paulino Sem spoke after a meeting which he held, together with the Minister of Interior and Police, José Ramon (Monchy) Fadul, with the Special Commission of the Senate which is following the implementation of the Normalization Plan. This commission, chaired by legislator Prin Pujals, announced that they would visit all of the parliaments of Central and South America, as well as the United States and Canada in order to reveal "the respectable and humanitarian manner" in which Dominican authorities are carrying out the plan.

Those who have left

Of the Haitians who decided to abandon the country, the great majority did so through the frontier gates of Dajabon, where 23,541 persons left. This was followed by Elias pina, with a total of 4295; in Jimani with 2519 and Pedernales with 920 persons. Of those that let, 15,777 are men, 8371 are women and 7127 are minors.

A country issue

For the Minister of Interior, migrations should be a country issue in which all the sectors take part, in order that it not be politicized.

In this, he coincided with the spokesman of the bloc of deputies of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) who said that the government should convene a large national Summit in order to define the position that should be taken before the international community with respect to the application of the immigration policies and where they can debate with sincerity the strengths and weaknesses of the plan.

In this sense, the Senate president, Cristina Lizardo, also appeared in favor of any initiative that helps to demonstrate that rights are not disrespected and she recalled that the plan does not include the parties.

Cedeño says Human lies

The Vice President of the Republic, Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez, said that the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch lies to the world by releasing a report with "unfounded statements" with respect to the National Plan of Normalization of Foreigners which the government is carrying out.

The Vice President emphasized that "this informing the world regarding the execution of the Normalization Plan is an act of injustice with our country," and she added that solidarity has always prevailed in the relations between the Dominican Republic and the Haitian people.
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