Case of Mass Expulsions of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Inter-American Court of Human Rights)
In 1999, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, including Columbia's Human Rights Clinic, filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on behalf of 28 individuals, both Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent, who were among the tens of thousands of people collectively deported to Haiti by the Dominican Republic in 1999 during a mass expulsion campaign directed against ethnic Haitians. Students in the Human Rights Clinic, along with co-counsel at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Santo-Domingo-based Movement for Dominico-Haitian Women (MUDHA), and the Port-au-Prince-based Group for Repatriates and Refugees (GARR), are currently working toward a holistic solution to the problem of mass expulsions, combining litigation in the Inter-American system with other advocacy efforts. The litigation takes place on 2 tracks: provisional measures (before the Inter-American Court) and merits (before the Inter-American Commission).
Clinic students have appeared before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights -- the two human rights organs of the Organization of American States. Students have also traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti to update clients and attend meetings with representatives from NGOs, the Dominican government, and the Inter-American Commission. In 2000, 2001, and 2006, the Inter-American Court granted provisional measures to petitioners. In 2002, the Dominican government took its first step toward complying with these provisional measures by issuing petitioners safe-passage documents (salvoconductos) that allow them to move freely between the Dominican Republic and Haiti and to work in the Dominican Republic until their case is resolved. One result of the case has been the reunification of a family whose members had been separated since the 1994 expulsion to Haiti of a mother and two daughters from the Dominican Republic.
Clinic students traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti in March 2007 and July 2008 to meet with the petitioners in the case and (in March 2007) to attend an international conference co-sponsored by the Columbia Human Rights Institute that focused on the effects of U.S. and Dominican immigration policies on migrant populations in both countries and throughout the Caribbean.
NEWS & FEATURES
On February 26, 2010, the Columbia Human Rights Clinic, in collaboration with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Ira Kurzban, and community advocates in Miami, submitted a memo to Roxana Bacon, Chief Counsel of US Customs and Immigration Service arguing for a generous humanitarian parole policy toward Haitians in the wake of the earthquake. View the memo on our Case Documents page. View the press release.
Click here to view the April 16, 2009, Press Release regarding the Merits Brief in this case.