Dominican murder draws light to anti-Haitian sentiment

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cquote1.svg They shouldn't have to apply for residency. They are Dominicans. Cquote2.svg

Human rights advocate Santiago Canton

Yesterday's discovery of a bound man, believed to be of Haitian ancestry, hanged from a tree in Santiago, Dominican Republic has drawn attention to anti-Hatian sentiments in the nation.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti between them make up the island of Hispaniola and Dominicans have grown concerned by Haitian immigration in recent years. Police say they believe the man, known to his friends as Tulile, was murdered during a robbery. Police officers anonymously told reporters a winning lottery ticket may have been the motive.

Aged around 23, Tulile made his living shining shoes and taking commissions from money lending in the area he was murdered. Bound hand and foot, his body was found at dawn in Ercilia Pepín park, Sabana Larga street. The scene is close to the University Hospital Jose Maria Cabral y Báe, around which Tulile worked.

This week saw the public burning of Haiti's flag in Santiago by local residents, saying it symbolised their rejection of Haitian immigration. The issue is a hot topic, with a court ruling two years ago retrospectively stripping Dominicans born to unregistered Haitian parents from 1930 onwards of their citizenship.

Santiago, from file.
Image: "Greifen".

Only 7,000 of an estimated 200,000 eligible residents have signed up for residency cards, a scheme instigated by the government in the face of international pressure. The deadline to apply for the permits, which allow citizenship after two years, has passed.

"They shouldn't have to apply for residency," said Santiago Canton of the Robert F Kennedy Center for Human Rights in a Guardian interview. "They are Dominicans." Canton said the murder should be viewed "in the context of constant discrimination and violence against Haitians".

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