Deportation of Haitians must stop: UN official

A Haitian mother holds her child at a school in Fond Parisien on July 3, 2015, after she was arrested and deported from the Dominican Republic (AFP Photo/Hector Retamal)

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - The Dominican Republic must stop deporting undocumented people of Haitian descent until a bilateral agreement is reached, a UN human rights envoy said Tuesday.

The migration crisis stems from a Dominican court ruling in 2013 that children born in the country of undocumented foreigners do not have Dominican citizenship.

Overnight, more than 250,000 people -- mostly those born of Haitian parents -- became stateless.

"We need a policy to create the necessary conditions for these people's rights to be respected," said Gustavo Gallon, the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic to its east share the mountainous island of Hispaniola.

Under international pressure, Santo Domingo established a process by which some 50,000 of the Haitian immigrants would be allowed to stay, but the majority have been unable to finish the process in time due to documents that are slow to arrive from Haiti and Dominican registration offices that are overwhelmed by crowds.

"I don't know how these people are surviving. They have no water, no food and live in cardboard tents," Gallon said after a visit to a camp of displaced people at Anse-a-Pitres.

The camp has been crowded with 2,500 for a month now. There are only two latrines per 500 people.

"This is a situation of desperate need," Gallon said.

For many Haitians, the treatment amounts to racism against black people by Dominicans, most of whom are of mixed heritage.