World, Americas

UN expert alarmed by Dominican Republic's closing of borders with Haiti

William O'Neill urges Caribbean nation to reverse its decision which would have 'serious impacts' on people of both sides

Beyza Binnur Donmez  | 19.09.2023 - Update : 19.09.2023
UN expert alarmed by Dominican Republic's closing of borders with Haiti


UN Expert on Human Rights in Haiti William O'Neill on Monday expressed alarm over Dominican Republic's decision to close its land, sea and air border with Haiti on a dispute over construction of a canal that connects a river running through both countries.

O'Neill urged the Caribbean nation to "reconsider its decision which will have serious impacts on people on both sides of the border."

"I further urge both governments to return to the negotiating table and follow the process outlined by the Joint Declaration of 27 May 2021 to reach a peaceful resolution of this dispute," he said in a statement.

Underlining that many businesses in the Dominican Republic depend on cross-border trade with Haiti for their livelihoods, he warned that the country would face immediate economic repercussions from its decision.

On the Haitian side, the impact will be even "more dire," he said, adding: "Due to the insecurity and gang violence in Haiti, many essential products like food, medical equipment and medicines are imported from the Dominican Republic."

The expert called on Dominican Republic to allow the delivery of all forms of humanitarian assistance and essential goods to Haiti and "avoid further exacerbating an already grave crisis."

"I also urge the Haitian Government to exert its authority over all activities relating to the proposed canal on the Rio Massacre (Dajabon) to ensure that appropriate engineering, health and safety and environmental protocols are followed," he said.

The move came days after the Dominican Republic stopped issuing visas to Haitians and closed the border near the northern town of Dajabon.

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