Haitian residents stay on the banks of the Bloodbath River which divides Haiti and Dominican Republic, as seen from Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on September 15, 2023. Dominican President Luis Abinader on Thursday introduced the closure of the nation’s border with Haiti, escalating a diplomatic row over entry to a shared river.
UNITED NATIONS, United States, (AFP) – A prime United Nations (UN) official on Monday urged authorities within the Dominican Republic to re-open its border with Haiti and use diplomacy to resolve a dispute over a shared river.
The Dominican Republic introduced the border closure on Thursday in response to Haiti’s plans to construct a canal on the Bloodbath River, arguing it violates a number of border treaties between the 2 nations, which share the island of Hispaniola.
William O’Neill, the UN’s prime official on human rights in Haiti, stated the border have to be reopened.
“I urge the federal government to rethink its resolution which could have severe impacts on folks on each side of the border,” O’Neill stated in Geneva.
He added that many companies within the Dominican Republic depend upon commerce with Haiti and depend on Haitian staff.
The results of the border closure will probably be even direr for Haiti, which imports a lot of its meals and medical provides from its neighbor, in keeping with O’Neill.
“Administrators of medical clinics in Haiti have instructed me that they will be unable to care for his or her sufferers if entry to the Dominican Republic is minimize off,” stated O’Neill. “Lives are at stake.”
Dominican President Luis Abinader reiterated Sunday that land, air and sea borders with Haiti will stay closed till the canal undertaking is halted.
“The measures will probably be in pressure till we obtain the definitive stoppage of the canal below development,” Abinader stated in a televised handle, referencing the closure of its “land, air and sea border” with Haiti, and the reinforcement of its navy presence alongside its frontiers.
On Monday, his authorities referred to as O’Neill’s statements “biased and unlucky.”
The diplomatic disaster comes on prime of present tensions between the Caribbean neighbors over emigration from Haiti, one of many world’s poorest nations, to the richer Dominican Republic.
“The Republic of Haiti could make sovereign choices on the exploitation of its pure assets,” the Haitian authorities stated after the preliminary announcement of the border closure.
As a part of the canal dispute, the Dominican authorities additionally suspended visas for Haitians. Forward of the total border closure, it closed the Dajabon crossing — one of the crucial essential, the place a cross-frontier market takes place twice per week.
Dominican authorities are constructing a 160-kilometre (100-mile) concrete wall alongside the 380-kilometre border with Haiti to maintain out undocumented migrants.