At least 1,800 unaccompanied Haitian migrant children have been sent back to their country by authorities in the Dominican Republicaccording to UNICEF.
The Dominican Republic however is denying the claim.
UNICEF said on Tuesday that their investigations can prove that their findings are factual. We know that the DR government has been ramping up migration in response to a cholera outbreak and ongoing gang violence in Haiti.
The two countries share a 240-mile border on the island of Hispaniola.
The decision by the Dominican Republic has been heavily criticized by international observers, including the United States, which has accused the country of mass deportations, racist treatment of migrants, and detentions of Haitians in facilities with poor conditions.
The UNICEF report says those fleeing to the Dominican Republic are girls and boys, many of whom are sent back to Haiti through different border points.
UNICEF itself has said that the children are being received by their partners.
The information was first reported by CNN and confirmed by UNICEF, which declined to comment further. It is still unclear if the children were expelled without their parents, got separated during the journey, or fled Haiti alone.
Director of the Dominican Republic’s migration authority, Venancio Alcántara, the agency follows specific procedures with child migrants and that “minors are with their parents at all times.”
“All deportations are carried out with complete and absolute respect for human dignity and human rights,” he said.
The issues between the Dominican Republic and Haiti took a turn for the worst when Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated.