This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

MCC aids deportees in Haiti

As thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent face deportation from the Dominican Republic, Mennonite Central Committee is offering humanitarian aid and calling on people to pray and advocate on the behalf of those affected.

MCC Haiti
Andre Joseph, his wife, Roseline, and their 15-year-old son, Sonel Joseph, were recently gathered up in the middle of the night and forced to leave their home in the Dominican Republic. Andre, now 53, spent 43 years working in the agricultural sector in the Dominican Republic. — Ted Oswald/MCC

In 2013, Dominican courts stripped citizenship from 210,000 people born in the Dominican Republic, many of whom have Haitian lineage. These Dominicans’ parents and grandparents had moved from Haiti to the neighboring country over the past decades to seek better economic opportunities.

More than 66,000 of these stateless individuals and migrant workers have been deported or have fled to Haiti since April.

Haiti, still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, does not have the capacity to accommodate such a large influx of people. Many of the deportees and those who fled have never set foot in Haiti before and find themselves settling in tent camps.

“The Dominican Republic’s actions are instigating a humanitarian crisis,” said Katharine Oswald, MCC policy analyst and advocacy coordinator in Haiti.

In response, MCC is distributing canned meat, comforters and relief kits. The National Human Rights Defense Network is working with MCC to provide vulnerable families with cash grants to help them reunite with extended family.

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