UN debunks rumors of Haitian refugee tent cities in the Dominican Republic

UN debunks rumors of Haitian refugee tent cities in the Dominican Republic

NEW YORK — The United Nations clarified today that it has no plans to set up tent cities in the Dominican Republic for refugees from Haiti, refuting circulating rumors. The organization emphasized that it lacks the authority to carry out such actions in countries or through its affiliated organizations.

EFE Verifica received inquiries via its WhatsApp channel (+34 648434618) regarding rumors about the UN’s purported intentions to establish “tents in Punta Cana for Haitian refugees.”

These rumors began circulating on social media platforms like Facebook and X in March amid the escalating crisis of violence in Haiti, prompting a significant number of citizens to flee the country. Several news portals also picked up on this narrative.

FACTS: Contrary to the rumors, the UN is not in the process of setting up tents in Punta Cana for refugees escaping violence in Haiti. The organization clarified that it does not possess the authority to do so. Instead, the UN aimed to inaugurate an immigration assistance center for individuals of all nationalities, as clarified on its official platforms and during discussions with EFE Verifica.

A thorough search on social media platforms and Google reveals articles from various local media outlets in March reporting that the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a part of the UN system responsible for managing human mobility, would establish a Reference and Orientation Center for migrants in the Verón area of Punta Cana. However, this information was distorted, sparking controversy on the internet and leading to citizen protests opposing the establishment of potential “refugee” centers.

In response, the local IOM office issued a statement to clarify that the planned center in Punta Cana was not intended as a refuge or asylum center, as this falls outside its institutional mandate.

According to reports from Diario Libre, the Dominican Government requested a postponement of the center’s opening in light of the social media uproar it generated.

A Reference and Orientation Care Center for migrants, abbreviated as CARE, serves as an informational hub for foreigners of all nationalities regarding their rights. These centers are not intended as refugee tents.

Presently, the Dominican Republic operates another CARE center in Santo Domingo, providing assistance in migration management.