CARICOM’s Regional Cultural Committee horrified at reports of lynching and forced expulsion of Haitians from their homes by DR citizens

The Regional Cultural Committee,

  • Acknowledging its role as the vanguard and custodian of cultural development in CARICOM;
  • Acknowledging and recognising that the culture of the people of the region is deeply rooted in our diasporic history and is therefore central to our entire region’s development;
  • Also acknowledging the key role that Haiti has played in influencing and shaping the wider freedom movement in Latin America and the Caribbean

wishes to declare its grave concern over the recent legislated decision of the Government of the Dominican Republic that has rendered stateless thousands of Dominicans of Haitian origin/descent, a gross denial of their basic human rights.

The Regional Cultural Committee also views with abhorrence, reports of lynching and forced expulsion of such persons from their homes by ordinary citizens with no reported government sanctions.

The lessons of history as seen in circumstances such as Nazi Germany, South Africa under Apartheid Law and Legal segregation in the Southern states of the USA, demonstrate clearly the immediate danger of such state endorsed violence against members of our Caribbean family.

The Regional Cultural Committee urges CARICOM to advise the government of the Dominican Republic, and all other Caribbean nations to immediately cease and desist such overtly racist policies disguised as state foreign policy, and to engage diasporic communities within each nation state in constructive discussion of humanitarian, immigration and citizenship concerns.

We are mindful that while descendants of Haitian migrants might be seen as a clearly identifiable group in the context of the Dominican Republic, the ethnic similarities and cultural commonalities to the vast majority of the Caribbean population caution us that a similar policy can be utilized to expel wider groups of CARICOM peoples from nations throughout the region and the world that they currently call home.

The Regional Cultural Committee wishes to remind the region that our nations were all formed from the same history of colonialism, enslavement and indentureship; and as such have a common past and a common future. The region can only progress collectively through mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, as expressed most effectively in the current theme for CARIFESTA XII, “Our Roots, Our Culture, Our Common Future” to be hosted by Haiti in August 2015.

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