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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
An outbreak of xenophobia?
Latinamerica Press
10/24/2013
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Incidents in various countries in the region prove profound prejudices against immigrants.

The Colombian government expressed its concerns regarding a call for protest against Colombian immigrants in the Chilean city of Antofagasta on Oct. 19, appealing at the same time to “tolerance and respect to stop the promotion of messages which incite violence.”

The action convened via social networks gathered about 70 people. A Facebook page called “Take back Antofagasta. We can't live like this” contains offensive images and comments regarding Colombian immigrants.

“Every day they take away our jobs, not to mention that lots of them come here to mess up, commit offenses, sell drugs and prostitute themselves,” it says on the page.

Local organizations that offer help to immigrants, like Global Citizen, argued that “this kind of call constitutes an apology for national and racial hatred and incites violence for those reasons while going against elemental norms relative to Human Rights.”

According to the Colombian consulate in Antofagasta, there are about 11,000 Columbians living in this region of North Chile, most of them professionals, technicians or qualified workers, attracted by the boom of the mining industry and real estate development which require foreign workers to satisfy demands.

Another proof of intolerance is the verdict of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic from Sept. 23 which retroactively strips citizenship from people born in the country after 1929 whose parents had an irregular migratory status. The sentence refers to the case of 29-year-old Juliana Deguis Pierre, the daughter of Haitian parents who according to the court does not fulfill the requirements in order to be registered as a Dominican citizen. The regulatory action will affect around 210,000 people of Haitian origin born in the Dominican Republic who due to this measure would face statelessness and restriction of their rights.

Amnesty International (AI) appealed to the Dominican government not to apply the sentence of the Constitutional Court.

“The full implementation of this ruling will have a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose identity documents would be cancelled and, therefore, would see many of their human rights — freedom of movement, education, work and access to healthcare — totally denied,” said Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International researcher on the Caribbean, who added that the ruling is the last of a number of administrative, legislative and judicial decisions that since the early 2000s have had the effect of retroactively depriving Dominicans of Haitian descent of their Dominican nationality.”

Further, the sentence violates the Dominican Constitution which clearly prohibits the approval of retroactive measures. Nevertheless, Dominican authorities like the president of the Senate, Reinaldo Pared Pérez, consider it “an act of full sovereignty.”

The arrival of Cuban doctors in Brazil as part of the governmental program “More doctors” which aims at satisfying the demand of health professionals in remote regions provoked protest of Brazilian doctors at the end of August who accused the Cubans of “incompetence” and of accepting “inacceptable working conditions.”

Although the program includes the employment of about 4,000 foreign physicians, the allegations focused on the Cuban doctors. The Brazilian Medical Organization lodged a constitutional complaint against “More doctors” at the Federal Supreme Court and demanded the revaluation of professional titles granted by foreign universities. The Health minister Alexandre Padilha accused the Brazilian doctors of an attitude that incites “prejudices and xenophobia.”
—Latinamerica Press.


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