For a well-managed and secure border with the Dominican Republic

Fabien Sambussy - IOM, Amos Joseph - Mairie de Ouanaminthe, Dr Elie Thelot - CNLTP and Carlos Rojas-Arbulú - Canada

Ouanaminthe, Haiti - March 1st 2018. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) inaugurates the fourth and last Border Resource Center (BRC) while the POLIFRONT receives vehicles.

Three centers are already operational in Anse-à-Pîtres, Malpasse and Belladère. These structures allow a better identification, guidance and assistance to vulnerable migrants, while providing an equipped coordination space to foster the reinforcement of synergies between local state, civil society and multilateral protection actors. Through collaboration with the Institute of Welfare and Research (IBESR) and National Office of Migration (ONM), each BRC relies on the support of trained registration officers in the management of vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied or separated children and victims of human trafficking.

"As women and children and vulnerable individuals are the primary victims of the inefficiencies of the border management mechanisms, this initiative responds to the urgent and clearly identified needs and reaches the most vulnerable who are exposed to all types of trafficking, including human trafficking. The CNLTP will do its best to support and strengthen the Border Resource Centers, " said Dr. Thélot, President of the National Committee Against Trafficking -CNLTP.

Since the expiration of the registration period of the National Regularization Plan of Foreigners (NRPF) in June 2015, IOM and its civil society partners have registered more than 230,000[1] haitian migrantsreturning to Haiti. Of these, 4,167 presumed unaccompanied or separated children and 5,807 persons at risk of statelessness were registered. These figures highlight the extensive assistance and reintegration needs that exist throughout the border area in order to help vulnerable migrants, particularly women and children. Too often, migrants arrive in precarious conditions; they are traumatized, without access to financial resources, hungry, and sometimes wounded and without any connection or direct link with Haiti.

It is in this context that IOM, with the financial support of the Canadian Government, has implemented an assistance project for migrants entitled, “Assisting Vulnerable Children and Women in the Border areas between Haiti and Dominican Republic.” which aims to improve the capacity of local actors combat irregular migration and trafficking, and establish referral mechanisms to facilitate access to basic services and promote the sustainable reintegration of vulnerable migrants, particularly  women and girls. " said by Carlos Rojas-Arbulú, Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, at the opening of the center.

The Border Resource Centers permit the voluntary registration and onward referral of vulnerable migrants to specialized support structures (such as medical centers, shelters, etc.).

The BRCs represent the only state structure that ensures the care of vulnerable migrants at the four official border crossing points. The three centers inaugurated in 2017 have already welcomed, registered and assisted 287 migrants in distress in 2018 (135 women and 152 men))[2].

The opening of the BRC in Ouanaminthe, which is currently the most frequented border crossing point, will guarantee the presence of the social partners and other non-state actors  and thus facilitate an integrated response (in collaboration with the POLIFRONTs, customs, immigration and emigration) to the migration crisis in the North East Department.

"IOM advocates for dignified and safe migration as well as integrated and efficient border management system. This approach is now materializing in Ouanaminthe through the assistance offered to vulnerable migrants in the BRC, and thanks to the reinforcement of border security by the POLIFRONTs. Deployed since January 1oth 2018, the POLIFRONT has already arrested suspected traffickers and recovered significant customs fees. IOM hopes that these two components which are essential to the management of an international border will soon be completed by the implementation of the Border ID Card, " said Fabien Sambussy, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti.

POLIFRONT receives vehicles

The Border Police, a unit created by the PNH in 2014, began its operations in January 2018 with the deployment of 91 specialized police officers trained on securing the border separating the cities of Ouanaminthe and Dajabòn. This morning, IOM also organized a donation ceremony at the North East Headquarters of the Border Police in Morne Casse (Fort-Liberté) where in the presence of Marc Justin, Director of the Border Police and the Embassy of Canada, two Land cruiser vehicles were handed over to the POLIFRONT.

"Canada is also supporting the project entitled ”Support and Reinforce the Establishment of the Haitian National Border Police", which strengthens their ability to uphold border security by equipping the police commissariat and dormitories as well as providing a tailored equipment package while also ensuring officers capacity to recognize the specific rights and needs of migrants. Thanks to IOM, the Haitian Government and project partners for the opening of the Border Resource Center (BRC) in Ouanaminthe and for its ongoing work with the border police, "added Carlos Rojas- Arbulú, Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti.

IOM reiterates its unconditional support to the Haitian Ministries, Authorities and Institutions in charge of addressing the internal and external migration challenges facing the Haitian state. IOM wishes to continue to support the Government of Haiti in its efforts to ensure and promote regular and informed migration and protect the most vulnerable migrants.

Contact presse : Julie Harlet - ​- +509 4638 8051

[1] IOM Haiti Border Monitoring Sitrep, tracking returnees from the Dominican Republic, September 28, 2017.

[2] Sitrep du projet, ’’Aide aux enfants et femmes vulnérables dans les régions frontalières en Haïti’’, Janvier 2018.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities