Haiti promises to tighten security at Dominican consulates as tensions increase

Less than a week after the Dominican Republic announced the closing of five consulates in Haiti due to the rising “aggression” between the neighboring countries,…

A Haitian slaps a doll he says represents Dominicans during a protest near the Dominican Embassy, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Haitians are decrying a recent court decision in the Dominican Republic that could strip the citizenship of generations of people of Haitian descent living in the neighboring country. In the background protesters carry a coffin spray painted with the message; “Mateli corrupt,” in reference to Haitian President Michel Martelly. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Less than a week after the Dominican Republic announced the closing of five consulates in Haiti due to the rising “aggression” between the neighboring countries, the Haitian State has promised to tighten up security at the Dominican diplomatic missions.

“We welcome this measure to increase security around our diplomatic missions provided by the government of president Michel Martelly, which we’re confident will allow us to reopen the five closed consulates in a short time,” the Dominican Foreign Affairs Ministry declared in a statement, according to Dominican Today.

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The consulates were shut down after 10,000 Haitians marched through Port-au-Prince to protest the alleged widespread mistreatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

Tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republican have continued to grow over the past several years, especially after the Dominican Republic announced in 2013 that they would no longer guarantee citizenship to those born in the country to non-citizens.

This new rule gave children of undocumented immigrants until Feb. 1 to apply for a birth certificate, which would then grant them eligibility to apply for Dominican Republic citizenships a couple years down the road.

Out of the 110,000 people affected by this law in the Dominican Republic, less than 9,000 were able to apply for the birth certificate, according to Amnesty International. Those who could not apply for the birth certificate may now face expulsion from the country.

Crisis along the border in Haiti & DR

Haitians also feel that they are being targeted at the Dominican Republic’s borders, where security forces stopped 1,000 Haitians in just the two first weeks of January, according to Circa News.

In addition to the tightening restrictions on citizenship and the strict border security forces in the Dominican Republic, there have been several blatantly hateful acts toward Haitians recently, such as the burning of a Haitian flag on Feb. 12 in Santiago and the lynching of a Haitian man on Feb. 10.

These actions have angered Haitians, which is why 10,000 marched through Port-au-Prince on Feb. 26 in a non-violent protest.

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While the protest was considered non-violent, a protester did climb to the top of a Dominican consulate and burned the country’s flag, further exacerbating the tension between the two countries and leading to the Dominican Republic’s decision to close down five consulates in Haiti.

Haiti’s minister of foreign affairs, Pierre Duly Brutus, claimed that they are taking the “necessary steps” to beef up security at the Dominican Republic consulates.