Remarks by Interim U.S. Permanent Representative Michael J. Fitzpatrick

Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Interim Permanent Representative of the United States, addresses the OAS Permanent Council, July 8, 2015.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Interim Permanent Representative of the United States, addresses the OAS Permanent Council, July 8, 2015.

Interim Permanent Representative Fitzpatrick addressed a Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council to receive the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, Lener Renauld, July 8, 2015.

Thank you, Chair.  Mr. Secretary General, the United States would like to take this opportunity to thank Foreign Minister Renauld for his presentation.  We very much appreciate the information and would like to offer a few observations.

As an initial matter, the United States continues to stress the importance of transparent communication, clear protocols, and adequate time and resources for the processing of individuals during the regularization and naturalization processes, and for any related deportations.

We take note of the concerning reports that tens of thousands of people, mostly Haitians and people of Haitian descent, have crossed the border from the Dominican Republic into Haiti since June 17.

The United States is … actively engaging with the Government of the Dominican Republic, the Government of Haiti, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, civil society organizations, and the international community to confirm that the authorities work to ensure the security of all who cross the border.

We encourage the DR and Haiti to consult and collaborate with each other and with civil society groups and international organizations to develop processes that uphold the rule of law … , provide procedural safeguards, and are consistent with each country’s international obligations and commitments.

The United States is funding civil society organizations and international organizations, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  The IOM of course assists undocumented migrants with the document requirements.  The United States has also funded technical assistance to expand and documentation process at the Regularization Centers in the Dominican Republic.

The United States has urged Dominican officials to redouble efforts to thoroughly and transparently screen individuals to mitigate the possibility that persons with legitimate claims to Dominican citizenship or protection are removed from the country

We also hope that Haiti and the Dominican Republic will continue their efforts to work on the documentation requirements of deportees as well as border reception issues so large outflows of Haitian migrants or Dominicans of Haitian descent do not lead to a risk of instability and violence on the border.

To this end, we strongly encourage the finalization of negotiations on the border crossing discussions and agreement on the number of border crossings and provision of advance notice on deportees to allow the Government of Haiti time to accommodate and screen individuals to determine their citizenship and provide assistance.

Again, we thank you, Mr. Minister, for the presentation and look forward to continuing to work the Secretary General and with the Special Mission to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic so that this Organization can do all it can to assist both Haiti and the Dominican Republic on this important matter.

Thank you.