Dominican Republic starts building Haiti border wall

World Monday 21/February/2022 18:15 PM
By: DW
Dominican Republic starts building Haiti border wall

The Dominican Republic began building a wall to cover parts of its border with Haiti on Sunday.

Haiti is the Dominican Republic's only land neighboras both countries are located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The wall will cover nearly half of the 392-kilometer (244-mile) border between the two countries.

What did the Dominican government say about the wall?

"The benefit for both nations will be of great importance," Dominican President Luis Abinader said at the start of construction.

"The severe institutional and security crisis that [Haiti] is going through has brought its people to a worrying situation of social and political instability," Abinader said, referring to the crisis triggered by the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise on July 7.

This crisis "must be overcome by the Haitians themselves," Abinader added.

Abinader said the border wall would reduce the smuggling of commercial goods and weapons and human trafficking, as well as help fight organized crime in the two countries.

The wall will be 3.9 meters high and will be complete with fiber optics, movement sensors, cameras, radars and drones. The wall will be made from 20-centimeter (7.8-inches) thick concrete and topped by a metal mesh.

The Dominican army said that there would be 70 watchtowers along the wall.

The Dominican Republic started the project ahead of the anniversary of the country's independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844.

Why are Haitians migrating to the Dominican Republic?

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas, whereas the Dominican Republic has prospered in recent decades.

Many Haitians cross the border in search of work in the fields or in the construction industry in the Dominican Republic.

The mayor of the Dajabon border town told the AFP news agency that he was not in favor of the wall, saying that "the real wall is that of the economy," and accused soldiers of accepting bribes to allow the passage of non-registered migrants.

Around half a million Haitians and tens of thousands of their descendants live in the Dominican Republic, according to an immigration survey conducted in 2018. The total population of the Dominican Republic is about 11 million.