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Haiti 'strongly disagrees' with DR migrant ruling

Saturday - 10/5/2013, 4:40pm  ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti said Saturday that it "strongly disagrees" with a court ruling in the Dominican Republic that strips citizenship from the children of Haitian migrants.

The Haitian government had been mostly silent on the court decision that threatens to render hundreds of thousands of people stateless but announced this week that it was recalling its ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs deeply regrets that Haitians and their Dominican descendants who have contributed significantly to the current progress of the Dominican Republic for their work and sacrifice are now treated as foreigners in transit," the statement said.

The Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court ruled last week that it will block citizenship for thousands of people born to Haitian migrant workers since 1929. This could affect about 300,000 people, the bulk of them Dominican-born people of Haitian descent.

Haiti's foreign affairs ministry claimed that the court decision violates several international laws and agreements, including a 2005 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

It also urged Dominican authorities to address in an "objective and fair manner" the role of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.

The court ruling has aggravated already uneasy relations between the two countries, which share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Tensions between the neighbors worsened this summer when the Haitian government imposed a ban on Dominican chicken and eggs, citing a false report that the Dominican Republic had avian flu.

Haitian officials acknowledged the error but have kept the ban in place for reasons they haven't fully explained.

Dominican officials have promised to create a path to legal residency for those whose birth certificates are voided, but have provided no details on how that might work.


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