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Resuming Deportations to Haiti Violates US Commitments to Health and Human Rights

PHR Calls on Government to Protect Health of Deportees

For Immediate Release

PHR today denounced the decision of TheImmigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to lift the ban on deportationsto Haiti for persons withcriminal convictions.

Deportations to Haiti had ceased following the January 12, 2010 earthquakein the country, but on Friday ICE announced that undocumented Haitian nationalswith criminal records would be sent back to Haiti. The US government will begindeportations in January in coordination with Haiti’s government, despite thecountry’s political unrest, cholera outbreak, and lack of access to medicalcare.

"The US State Department issued a travel warning recommending against anynon-essential travel to Haiti,but they are willing to send people to Haitianprisons where they are at high risk of contracting cholera and areunlikely to receive medical care,” said Physicians for Human Rights’ CEO, FrankDonaghue. "We cannot knowingly putpeople in harm’s way by exposing them to contagious disease.”

According to Haiti's Ministry of Health (MSPP), there have been 2,193 deaths and46,749 hospitalizations due to the cholera outbreak, a number rapidlyapproaching the number of cases reported in last year’s outbreak in Zimbabwe.

"When we issued a report last year on the failed health system in Zimbabwe, there was a similar outbreak.Then, the Obama administration made combatingcholera a foreign policy priority; now, they are consciously putting people at risk,” said Donaghue.

PHR is calling on the US government to honor its commitment to thehealth and human rights of all people and reverse this irresponsible andharmful decision.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.