Sep 30, 2021 - World

UN warns against deporting migrants to Haiti

Haitian migrants on a boat to Panama
Haitian migrants on a boat to Panama. Photo: Raul Arboleda/AFP

Four United Nations agencies released a joint statement on Thursday warning countries not to deport Haitians "without proper assessment of their individual protection needs."

Why it matters: More Haitian migrants are making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Biden administration has begun deporting them under the Trump-era Title 42 policy.

What they're saying: "Haitians on the move in the Americas comprise people with different protection needs, profiles and motivations, including unaccompanied and separated children, victims of trafficking, and survivors of gender-based violence," the statement reads.

  • "This situation is bound to worsen as a result of the 14 August earthquake straining any capacity to receive returning Haitians. Conditions in Haiti continue to be dire, and not conducive to forced returns."
  • The statement was issued by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR).

The agencies said countries need to "uphold the fundamental human rights of Haitians on the move," and "offer protection mechanisms or other legal stay arrangements for more effective access to regular migration pathways."

  • They also advocated for the Americas to work together to create a "comprehensive regional approach."

The backdrop: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in June after rising political instability in the country. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August compounded the crisis there.

  • The UN says at least 19,000 people have been displaced from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in the summer alone.
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