US Deports 50 Migrants To Violence-Gripped Haiti

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Port-au-Prince: The United States on Thursday deported more than 50 Haitian migrants, US and Haitian officials said, sending them back to a country which has been beset by spiraling gang violence in recent weeks.

In total, 52 Haitians landed at the airport in the city of Cap-Haitien Thursday, a Haitian immigration official told AFP.

The repatriation flight was announced by a spokesperson for the US Department of Homeland Security.

"US policy is to return noncitizens who do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States," the spokesperson said.

Since the end of February, powerful gangs have teamed up to launch a coordinated offensive across the Caribbean nation, attacking police stations, prisons and the airport, leading to the resignation of prime minister Ariel Henry.

File: A Haitian woman pushes her son through the window of a bus leaving for the countryside from Port-au-Prince on September 16, 1994. (Photo by Thony Belizaire / AFP)

In light of that worsening crisis, nearly 500 human rights organizations last month published a letter addressed to US officials including President Joe Biden, requesting a moratorium on deportations to Haiti.

"Today, in the absence of a functioning state, armed groups terrorize the population with systematic rape, indiscriminate kidnapping, and mass killing, all with impunity," the letter said.

The United States, European Union and other countries began arranging for their citizens to leave Haiti last month, while the United Nations also evacuated their staff due to the instability.

On Tuesday, an official decree named nine members to Haiti's transitional ruling council following weeks of delays, a further step toward establishing some semblance of order and paving the way for new presidential elections after the assassination of president Jovenel Moise in 2021.

Haiti no sitting legislature and has not held elections since 2016.

Last year, a UN-backed force led by Kenya was tasked with deploying to the country and helping its beleaguered police rein in criminal gangs, but the group has yet to deploy.

The United Nations migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said this month the situation is driving an exodus from the country.

It said Haiti has more than 360,000 internally displaced people, including "many multiple times over."

Some 13,000 Haitian migrants were forcibly returned home by neighboring countries in March, said the IOM.


The Peninsula

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