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, mentioned the border should be reopened.
“I urge the federal government to rethink its choice which can have critical impacts on individuals on each side of the border,” O’Neill mentioned in Geneva.
He added that many companies within the Dominican Republic rely upon commerce with Haiti and depend on Haitian staff.
The implications of the border closure might be even direr for Haiti, which imports a lot of its meals and medical provides from its neighbor, based on O’Neill.
“Administrators of medical clinics in Haiti have instructed me that they won’t be able to care for his or her sufferers if entry to the Dominican Republic is lower off,” mentioned 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 venture is halted.
“The measures might be in power till we obtain the definitive stoppage of the canal below development,” Abinader mentioned in a televised deal with, 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 selections on the exploitation of its pure sources,” the Haitian authorities mentioned 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 complete border closure, it closed the Dajabon crossing — one of the vital necessary, the place a cross-frontier market takes place twice every week.
Dominican authorities are constructing a 160-kilometre (100-mile) concrete wall alongside the 380-kilometre border with Haiti to maintain out undocumented migrants.