WASHINGTON, April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the U.S. Department of Homeland Security again deported Haitians from the United States to Haiti, a nation still reeling from the fall-out of a devastating earthquake, endemic cholera, and unable to provide adequate shelter, food, and basic services for hundreds of thousands of its citizens.
Nineteen people were deported today, and U.S. authorities confirmed they will be held in jails where cholera is rampant until family members come to claim them. No adequate response has been given to advocates regarding what will happen to long-time U.S. residents deported to Haiti who have no living family members in the Haitian capital.
Haiti is in a severe crisis, with 680,000 people still living in camps. Rape and domestic violence are on the rise, and instability has escalated. Exacerbating the current situation is a cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 4,000 lives and is expected to kill thousands more.
The Haitian state has no capacity to provide for the safe and dignified reintegration of those deported, many of whom are long-time U.S. residents with no resources in Haiti. We have told and continue to tell both DHS and the State Department about the Haitian inadequacies, yet the deportations continue and more lives are unnecessarily placed at risk.
DHS has announced that it will continue deportations, and that USAID is contracting with an NGO in Haiti to offer job opportunities to the deported persons; this is difficult to confirm because USAID refuses to disclose the name of the NGO or the type of services that will be provided. The U.S. government said that once it executes deportations, the human rights of those deported are a matter to be dealt with by the Haitian government.
We are disturbed by the lack of transparency. Placing the additional burden of dealing with these deportees on already overwhelmed Haitian government officials at this time is a bad decision.
We call on the Department of Homeland Security to clarify their policy and to provide an explanation of how conditions have changed in Haiti to justify the resumption of deportations. We also ask what steps are being taken in Haiti to prepare for the returns and what agreements have been reached with the Haitian government regarding ensuring the humane and dignified treatment of those returned.
SOURCE Jesuit Refugee Service/USA