24 May 2022
By #HaitianosRD Press
Human rights defender and member of the #HaitianosRD Collective, Roudy Joseph, issued a statement on the arbitrary detention suffered at the hands of agents of the General Directorate of Immigration (DGM) on the morning of Tuesday 24 May.
“Responding to a call from Haitian residents of Ciudad Juan Bosch, who called me in the early hours of the morning denouncing a repressive operation by agents of the DGM, National Police, Topo group and SWAT, in which they were breaking down doors, raiding flats, detaining all black people they could find, regardless of their nationality, immigration status or documentation, I went to the place to document the facts. While filming videos of the illegal actions of the DGM, I was surrounded in my vehicle by a group of agents who threatened me to hand over my mobile phone. When I refused to do so, they pulled me out of the vehicle and I was detained, even though I showed them my identity card as a foreigner with legal residency,” explained Joseph.
“In the DGM truck, I could talk to other detainees, several of whom showed me their identity cards and valid residency visas. I was then taken to the Hipódromo, which functions as a detention centre. The DGM is systematically violating Dominican laws by carrying out arbitrary detentions and raids in Ciudad Juan Bosch and other parts of the country, detaining even black Dominicans if they do not have their Dominican identity card at the time of detention. In my case, the arbitrary detention was motivated because I was documenting the DGM’s crimes. The agents took away my mobile phone and erased the photos and videos I had taken. It is worrying that the government is encouraging these criminal actions and we hope the PGR will note the extensive documentation publicly available on the internet of flagrant violations of laws and human rights by police, DGM and military agents,” the human rights defender added.
“It is very serious that the government of President Luis Abinader is ordering the arbitrary detention of black people and human rights defenders. If it were not the government’s policy, he would publicly clarify it and remove those responsible. In my tour of Ciudad Juan Bosch, I witnessed the detention of people with valid documents, including mothers with their children, as well as the breaking and entering of flats and other blatantly illegal actions, without a warrant. I am ready to testify to the Public Prosecutor’s Office if it opens an investigation against the DGM. Likewise, if a member of Parliament, under their democratic responsibilities, calls the director of the DGM to account for his illegal actions before Congress, I am ready to testify to them.
“These illegal actions of the DGM have inspired ultra-right groups to threaten the people living in Ciudad Juan Bosch with eviction through paramilitary actions to take over the flats, and who have carried out police escorted tours of this residential area, a very serious situation that could lead to terrorist actions if the government continues to encourage them and provide them with impunity. From the #HaitianosRD Collective we call on all democratic organisations in the country to speak out against the violations of the human rights of black people, immigrants and Dominicans, by the DGM and the police and military,” he concluded.